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DIVISIONS ' 



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KANSAS CITY, MO. PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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ABOUT 

SOVIET RUSSIA 

BY 

SIDNEY AND BEATRICE WEBB 

WITH AN ESSAY ON THE WEBBS BY 
BERNARD SHAW 

and a Summary of the Constitution and Working 

of Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation by 

BEATRICE WEBB 



LONGMANS, GBJEEN AND CO. 

NEW YOKE LONDON TORONTO 
1942 



AND CO. 

FEFTI* -ATENUE, NEW YORK 



pNGMANS, GREEN AND CO. LTD. 
OF PATERNOSTER Row 

43 ALBERT DRIVE, LONDON, S.W. I 
I/ CHITTABLANJAN AVENUE, CALCUTTA 

NICOL ROAD, BOMBAY 
3^A MOUNT ROAD, MADRAS 

LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO. 

21 ] VICTORIA STREET, TORONTO 



THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THE 
RIGHT TO REPRODUCE THIS BOOK, OR. 
ANY PORTION THEREOF, IN ANY FORM 

FIRST EDITION 



PUBLISHERS' NOTE 

This book is a summary of the conclusions 
reached by Sidney and Beatrice Webb as to the 
internal organization of the Soviet Union ( 1941- 
1942). It is reprinted, with modifications and 
additions from the Introduction to the reissue 
(1941) of their book Soviet Communism: A 
New Civilisation 

The article on the Webbs by Bernard Shaw 

is reprinted from Picture Post by 

permission of the author. 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

THE WEBBS, by BERNARD SHAW .... 5 
THE NEW CIVILIZATION, by BEATRICE WEBB 15 

THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936, translated 
by MRS. ANNA LOUISE STRONG . ... 86 

POSTSCRIPT ON THE RIGHTS AND BASIC DUTIES 
OF MAN AS LAID DOWN BY THE CONSTITU- 
TION OF THE USSR, 1936, by SIDNGEY and 
BEATRICE WEBB 123 



THE WEBBS 

By G. BERNARD SHAW 

The Webbs, Sidney and Beatrice, officially The 
Right Honourable the Baron and Lady Passfield, 
are a superextraordinary pair. I have never met 
anyone Kke them, either separately or in their most 
fortunate conjunction. Each of them is an Eng- 
lish force; and their marriage was an irresistible 
reinforcement Only England could have pro- 
duced them. It is true that France produced the 
Curies, a pair equally happily matched; but in 
physics they found an established science and 
left it so, enriched as it was by their labors; but 
the Webbs found British Constitutional politics 
something which nobody had yet dreamt of call- 
ing a science or thinking of as such. 

When they began, they were face to face with^ 
Capitalism and Marxism. Marxism, though it 
claims to be scientific, and has proved itself a 
mighty force in the modern world, was then a phi- 
losophy propounded by a foreigner without ad- 
ministrative experience, who gathered his facts in 
the Reading Room of the British Museum, and 
generalized the human race under the two heads 
of bourgeoisie and proletariat apparently without 
having ever come into business contact with a liv- 
ing human being. 

5 



6 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

The Quarrel with Capitalism 
Capitalism was and is a paper Utopia, the most 
unreal product of wishful thinking of all the Uto- 
pias. By pure logic, without a moment's reference 
to the facts, it demonstrated that you had only to 
enforce private contracts and let everybody buy 
in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest to 
produce automatically a condition in which there 
would be no unemployment, and every honest and 
industrious person would enjoy a sufficient wage 
to maintain himself and his wife and reproduce his 
kind, whilst an enriched superior class would have 
leisure and means to preserve and develop the na- 
tion's culture and civilization, and, by receiving 
more of the national income than they could pos- 
sibly consume, save all the capital needed to make 
prosperity increase by leaps and bounds, 

What Karl Marx Did 

Karl Marx's philosophy had no effect on public 
opinion here or elsewhere; but when he published 
the facts as to the condition to which Capitalism 
had reduced the masses, it was like lifting the lid 
off hell. Capitalism has not yet recovered from 
the shock of that revelation, and never will. 

Sixty years ago, the Marxian shock was only be- 
ginning to operate in England. I had to read Das 
Kapital in a French translation, there being no 
English version as yet. A new champion of the 
people, Henry Mayers Hyndman, had met and 



THE WEBBS 7 

talked with Karl Marx. They quarrelled, as their 
habit was, but not before Hyndman had been com- 
pletely converted by Marx; so his Democratic 
Federation presently became a Social-Democratic 
Federation. Socialism, in abeyance since the 
slaughter of the Paris Commune in 1871, suddenly 
revived; but Marx, its leader and prophet, died at 
that moment and left the movement to what lead- 
ership it could get. 

Socialism was not a new thing peculiar to Marx. 
John Stuart Mill, himself a convert, had converted 
others, among them one very remarkable young 
man and an already famous elderly one. The 
elderly one was the great poet and craftsman Wil- 
liam Morris, who, on reading Mill's early somewhat 
halfhearted condemnation of communism, at once 
declared that Mill's verdict was against the evi- 
dence, and that people who lived on unearned in- 
comes were plainly "damned thieves." He joined 
Hyndman, and when the inevitable quarrel en- 
sued, founded The Socialist League. 

Sidney Webb, the Prodigy 

The younger disciple had followed Mill's con- 
version and shared it. His name was Sidney 
Webb. He was an entirely unassuming young 
Londoner of no extraordinary stature, guiltless of 
any sort of swank, and so naively convinced that 
he was an ordinary mortal and everybody else as 
gifted as himself that he did not suffer fools gladly, 



8 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
and was occasionally ungracious to the poor things. 
The unassuming young cockney was in fact a 
prodigy. He could read a book as fast as he could 
turn die leaves, and remember everything worth 
remembering in it. Whatever country he was in, 
he spoke the language with perfect facility, though 
always in the English manner. He had gone 
through his teens gathering scholarships and ex- 
hibitions as a child gathers daisies, and had landed 
at last in the upper division of the civil service as 
resident clerk in the Colonial Office. He had ac- 
quired both scholarship and administrative experi- 
ence, and knew not only why reforms were desir- 
able but how they were put into practice under our 
queer political system. Hyndman and his Demo- 
cratic Federation were no use to him, Morris and 
his Socialist League only an infant school. There 
was no organization fit for him except the Liberal 
Party, already moribund, but still holding a front 
bench position under the leadership of Gladstone. 
All Webb could do was something that he was for- 
bidden to do as a civil servant: that is, issue pam- 
phlets warning the Liberal Party that they were 
falling behind the times and even behind the Con- 
servatives. Nevertheless he issued the pamphlets 
calmly. Nobody dared to remonstrate. 

G. B. S. Meets the Man he Sought 

This was the situation when I picked him up at 
a debating society which I had joined to qualify 



THE WEBBS 9 

myself as a public speaker. It was the year 1879, 
when I was 23 and he a year or two younger. I at 
once recognized and appreciated in him all the 
qualifications in which I was myself pitiably de- 
ficient. He was clearly the man for me to work 
with. I forced my acquaintance on him; and it 
soon ripened into an enduring friendship. This 
was by far the wisest step I ever toolc The com- 
bination worked perfectly. 

We were both in the same predicament in hav- 
ing no organization with which we could work. 
Our job was to get Socialism into some sort of work- 
ing shape; and we knew that this brainwork must 
be done by groups of Socialists whose minds oper- 
ated at the same speed on a foundation of the same 
culture and habits. We were not snobs; but 
neither were we mere reactionists against snobbery 
to such an extent as to believe that we could work 
in double harness with the working men of the 
Federation and the League, who deeply and wisely 
mistrusted us as "bourgeois/' and who would in- 
evitably waste our time in trying to clear up hope- 
less misunderstandings. Morris was soon com- 
pletely beaten by his proletarian comrades: he 
had to drop the League, which immediately per- 
ished. The agony of the Social-Democratic Fed- 
eration was longer drawn out; but it contributed 
nothing to the theory or practice of Socialism, and 
hardly even pretended to survive the death of 
Hyndman. 



10 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

The Fabian Society's Rise to Power 
One day I came upon a tract entitled Why Are 
The Many Poor? issued by a body of whom I had 
never heard, entitled The Fabian Society. The 
name struck me as an inspiration. I looked the 
Society up, and found a little group of educated 
middle class persons who, having come together 
to study philosophy, had finally resolved to take to 
active politics as Socialists. It was just what we 
needed. When I had sized it up, Webb joined, 
and with him Sydney Olivier, his fellow resident 
clerk at the Colonial Office. Webb swept every- 
thing before him; and the history of the Fabian 
Society began as the public knows it today. Bar- 
ricades manned by Anarchists, and Utopian colo- 
nies, vanished from the Socialist program; and 
Socialism became constitutional, respectable, and 
practical This was the work of Webb far more 
than of any other single person. 

Marriage to Beatrice Potter 

He was still a single person in another sense 
when the Fabian job was done. He was young 
enough to be unmarried when a young lady as 
rarely qualified as himself decided that he was old 
enough to be married. She had arrived at Social- 
ism not by way of Karl Marx or John Stuart Mill, 
but by her own reasoning and observation. She 
was not a British Museum theorizer and book- 



THE WEBBS 11 

worm; she was a born firsthand investigator. She 
had left the West End, where she was a society 
lady of the political plutocracy, for the East End, 
where she disguised herself to work in sweaters* 
dens and investigate the condition of the sub- 
merged tenth just discovered by Charles Booth 
and the Salvation Army. The sweaters found her 
an indifferent needlewoman, but chose her as an 
ideal bride for Ikey Mo: a generic name for their 
rising sons. They were so pressing that she had 
to bring her investigation to a hasty end, and seek 
the comparatively aristocratic society of the trade 
union secretaries, with whom she hobnobbed as 
comfortably as if she had been born in their houses. 
She had written descriptions of the dens for Booth's 
first famous Enquiry, and a history of Cooperation 
which helped powerfully to shift its vogue from 
producers' cooperation to consumers' coopera- 
tion. Before her lay the whole world of proletar- 
ian organization to investigate. 

It was too big a job for one worker. She re- 
solved to take a partner. She took a glance at the 
Fabian Society, now two thousand strong, and at 
once dismissed nineteen hundred and ninety-six of 
them as negligible sheep ; but it was evident that 
they were not sheep without a shepherd. There 
were in fact some half-dozen shepherds. She in- 
vestigated them personally one after the other, and 
with unerring judgment selected Sidney Webb, 
and gathered him without the least difficulty, as he 



12 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
had left himself defenseless by falling in love with 
her head over ears. 

Their Literary Partnership 

And so the famous partnership began. He took 
to her investigation business like a duck to water. 
They started with a history of trade unionism so 
complete and intimate in its information that it 
reduced all previous books on the subject to waste 
paper, and made organized labor in England class- 
conscious for tbe first time. It travelled beyond 
England and was translated by Lenin. Then came 
the volume on Industrial Democracy which took 
trade unionism out of its groove and made it politi- 
cally conscious of its destiny. There followed a 
monumental history of Local Government which 
ran into many volumes, and involved such a pro- 
gram of investigations on the spot all over the coun- 
try, and reading through local archives., as had 
never before been attempted. Under such han- 
dling not only Socialism but political sociology in 
general became scientific, leaving Marx and Las- 
salle almost as far behind in that respect as they 
had left Robert Owen, The labor of it was pro- 
digious; but it was necessary. And it left the 
Webbs no time for argybargy as between Marx's 
Hegelian metaphysics and Max Eastman's Carte- 
sian materialism. The question whether Social- 
ism is a soulless Conditioned Reflex d la Pavlov or 
the latest phase of The Light of the World an- 



THE WEBBS IS 

notmced by St. John, did not delay them: they 
kept to the facts and the methods suggested by the 
facts* 

Finally came the work in which those who be- 
lieve in Divine Providence may like to see its finger. 
The depth and genuineness of our Socialism found 
its crucial test in the Russian revolution which 
changed crude Tsarism into Red Communism. 
After the treaty of Brest Litovsk, Hyndman, our 
arch-Marxist, denounced it more fiercely than 
Winston Churchill The history of Communist 
Russia for the past twenty years in the British and 
American Press is a record in recklessly prejudiced 
mendacity. The Webbs waited until the wreck- 
age and ruin of the change was ended, its mis- 
takes remedied, and the Communist State fairly 
launched. Then they went and investigated it 
In their last two volumes they give us the first really 
scientific analysis of the Soviet State, and of its 
developments of our political and social experi- 
ments and institutions, including trade unionism 
and cooperation, which we thought they had abol- 
ished. No Russian could have done this all- 
important job for us. The Webbs knew England, 
and knew what they were talking about. No one 
else did. 

They unhesitatingly gave the Soviet system their 
support, and announced it definitely as a New 
Civilization. 

It has been a wonderful life's work. Its mere 



14 THE 'TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

incidental by-blows included Webb's chairman- 
ship of the London County Council's Technical 
Education Committee which abolished the old 
Schoolboard, the creation of the London School of 
Economics, the Minority Report which dealt a 
death blow to the iniquitous Poor Law, and such 
comparative trifles as the conversion of bigoted 
Conversative constituencies into safe Labor seats, 
and a few years spent by Webb in the two Houses 
of Parliament. They were the only years he ever 
wasted. He was actually compelled by the Labor 
Government to accept a peerage; but nothing 
could induce Beatrice to change die name she had 
made renowned throughout Europe for the title 
of Lady Passfield, who might be any nobody. 

For the private life of the Webbs, I know all 
about it, and can assure you that it is utterly void of 
those scandalous adventures which make private 
lives readable. Mr. Webb and Miss Potter are 
now Darby and Joan: that is all 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 

Since the signing of the German-Soviet Pact in 
1939 I have been frequently asked by bewildered 
friends: Is there any distinction between the 
status and activities of Stalin on the one hand and 
Hitler and Mussolini on the other: are these three 
men all alike dictators? And secondly, have these 
three sovereign states similar constitutions by law 
established: or is the Soviet Union, unlike Ger- 
many and Italy, a political democracy similar in 
essence, if not in detail, to the political democracies 
of the U.S.A. and Great Britain? And assuming 
that the Soviet Union is a political democracy, has 
democratic control of the instruments of produc- 
tion, distribution and exchange been added so that 
the government should be, not merely a govern- 
ment of the people by the people, but also a gov- 
ernment for the good of the people? Finally, is it 
right to suggest that Soviet Communism is a new 
civilization which will, in spite of the crudities and 
cruelties inherent in violent revolution and fear of 
foreign aggression, result in maximizing the wealth 
of the nation and distributing it among all the in- 
habitants on the principle of frogi^eaiA jpan^ ju> 
cordingj^ and to each man according 

to Jiisj^SF^^^^"^ 

15 



16 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

Is Stalin a Dictator? 

To answer the first question Is Stalin a dic- 
tator? we must agree on what meaning is to 
be attached to the term dictator: otherwise argu- 
ment is waste of time. Assuming that we accept 
the primary meaning of the term dictator, as it is 
defined in the New English Dictionary "a ruler 
or governor whose word is law; an absolute ruler 
of the state and who authoritatively prescribes 
a course of action or dictates what is to be done" 
( the example given being the Dictators of ancient 
Rome) Stalin is not a dictator. So far as Sta- 
lin is related to the constitution of the USSR, as 
amended in 1936, he is the duly elected representa- 
tive of one of the Moscow constituencies to the Su- 
preme Soviet of the USSR. By this assembly he 
has been selected as one of the thirty members of 
the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, 
accountable to the representative assembly for all 
its activities. It is this Presidium which selects the 
Council of Commissars ( Sovnarkom ) and, during 
the intervals between the meetings of the Supreme 
Soviet, controls the policy of the Sovnarkom, of 
which Molotov has been for many years the Prime 
Minister, and, since 1939, also the Foreign Secre- 
tary. In May 1941, Stalin, hitherto content to be 
a member of the Presidium, alarmed at the menace 
of a victorious German army invading the Ukraine, 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 17 

took over, with the consent of the Presidium, the 
office of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, 
leaving Molotov as Foreign Secretary; in exactly 
the same way, and for a similar reason the world 
war that Winston Churchill, with the consent 
of the House of Commons, became Prime Minister 
and Minister of Defence with Chamberlain, the 
outgoing Prime Minister, as a prominent member 
of the British Cabinet. As Prime Minister I doubt 
whether Stalin would have offered, as Churchill 
did, to amalgamate the USSR on terms of equality 
with another Great Power without consulting the 
Presidium of which he was a member. Neither 
the Prime Minister of the British Cabinet nor the 
presiding member of the Sovnarkom has anything 
like the autocratic power of the President of the 
U.S.A., who not only selects his Cabinet, subject 
merely to approval by a simple majority of the Sen- 
ate, but is also Commander-in-Chief of the Ameri- 
can armed forces and, under the Lease-Lend Act, is 
empowered to safeguard, in one way or another, 
the arrival of munitions and food at the British 
ports. By declaring, in May 1941, a state of un- 
limited national emergency, President Roosevelt 
legally assumes a virtual dictatorship of the United 
States. He has power to take over transport, to 
commandeer the radio for the purposes of propa- 
ganda, to control imports and all exchange trans- 
actions, to requisition ships and to suspend laws 



18 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
governing working hours, and, most important of 
all, to decide on industrial priorities and, if neces- 
sary, to take over industrial plants. 

In what manner, then, does Stalin exceed in au- 
thority over his country's destiny the British Prime 
Minister or the American President? The office 
by which Stalin earns his livelihood and owes his 
predominant influence is that of general secretary 
of the Communist Party, a unique organization the 
characteristics of which, whether good or evil, I 
shall describe later on in this pamphlet. Here I 
will note that the Communist Party, unlike the 
Roman Catholic and Anglican Church, is not an 
oligarchy; it is democratic in its internal structure, 
having a representative congress electing a central 
committee which in its turn selects the Politbu- 
reau and other executive organs of the Communist 
Party. Nor has Stalin ever claimed the position of 
a dictator or fuehrer. Far otherwise; he has per- 
sistently asserted in his writings and speeches that 
as a member of the Presidium of the Supreme 
Soviet of the USSR he is merely a colleague of thirty 
other members, and that so far as the Communist 
Party is concerned he acts as general secretary 
under the orders of the executive. He has, in fact, 
frequently pointed out that he does no more than 
carry out the decisions of the Central Committee 
of the Communist Party. Thus, in describing his 
momentous article known as "Dizzy with Success/* 
he expressly states that this was written on "the 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 19 

well-known decisions of the Central Committee 
regarding the fight 'against Distortions of the 
Party Line' in the collective farm movement. . . 
In this connection," he continues, "I recently re- 
ceived a number of letters from comrades, col- 
lective farmers, calling upon me to reply to the 
questions contained in them. It was my duty to 
reply to the letters in private correspondence; but 
that proved to be impossible, since more than half 
the letters received did not have the addresses of 
the writers ( they forgot to send their addresses ) . 
Nevertheless the questions raised in these letters 
are of tremendous political interest to our com- 
rades. . . In view of this I found myself faced 
with the necessity of replying to the comrades in 
an open letter, i.e. in the press. . . I did this all 
the more willingly since I had a direct decision 
of the Central Committee to this purpose." 

Is the USSR a Political Democracy? 

In answer to the second question Is the USSR 
a political democracy? it is clear that, tested by 
the Constitution of the Soviet Union as revised and 
enacted in 1936,* the USSR is the most inclusive 
and equalized democracy in the world. The Su- 
preme Soviet of the USSR consists of two chambers 
the Soviet of the Union and the Soviet of Na- 
tionalities. The Soviet of the Union is directly 
elected by the citizens in electoral districts of one 

* See New Constitution of 1936, pp. 86-122. 



20 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA ' 

deputy for three hundred thousand inhabitants, 
the number of deputies today being over twelve 
hundred. The Soviet of Nationalities, with over 
six hundred deputies, also directly elected, aims at 
giving additional representation to ethnical groups 
whether manifested in colour or figure, language 
or literature, religion or v manners, inhabiting large 
areas of the USSR. These separate Constituent 
Republics (now sixteen, formerly eleven) are sup- 
plemented by smaller local areas also distinguished 
by racial characteristics, termed Autonomous Re- 
publics or Autonomous Regions, to all of whom are 
allotted a smaller number of deputies to the Soviet 
of Nationalities. The two chambers which make 
up the Supreme Soviet of the USSR have equal 
rights, and their sessions begin and terminate 
simultaneously. Joint sessions of both chambers 
are needed to ratify legislation and meet twice a 
year, and are convened by the Presidium of the 
Supreme Soviet at its direction, or on demand of 
one of the constituent republics. All these assem- 
blies, whether the Soviet of the Union or the Soviet 
of Nationalities, together with a network of sub- 
ordinate provincial, municipal and village Soviets, 
are directly elected by secret ballot, by all the in- 
habitants over eighteen years of age, without dis- 
tinction of sex, race or religion, or political or social 
opinion. For instance the "deprived class" of the 
earlier constitutions, f orbcier landlords and capital- 
ist profit-makers, relations of the late Tsar, or mem- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 21 

bers of a religious order, are now included on the 
register of voters. I may add that nearly fifty 
thousand practising priests of the Greek Orthodox 
Church, together with several hundreds of Roman 
Catholics, Evangelicals, Mohammedans and Bud- 
dhist officiants, were enfranchised by the constitu- 
tion of 1936. 

The Insistence on Racial Equality 

How does this constitution of the Soviet Union 
compare with that of Great Britain which assumes 
to be a political democracy? Passing over the 
doubtful characteristics in the constitution of Great 
Britain itself with its forty-seven million inhabit- 
ants for instance, the hereditary House of Lords 
and the prerogative of the King to refuse sanction 
to statutes passed by the House of Commons and 
rejected by the House of Lords let us admit that 
the Home Country ( after the enfranchisement of 
women in 1919) is a political democracy. What 
about the constitution of the British Common- 
wealth of Nations with its five hundred million 
inhabitants? Within this vast area only seventy 
millions are governed by a political democracy. 
Even among the self-governing Dominions which 
are assumed to be political democracies, one the 
South African Union refuses any participation 
in its government by the coloured races who are 
the majority of the inhabitants; whilst Canada and 
Australia ignored the native tribes (when they did 



22 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

not exterminate them) as possible citizens of the 
newly formed state. New Zealand is the one hon- 
ourable exception; the British emigrants, once they 
had conquered the island, accepted the Maoris as 
fully-fledged citizens, not only as electors, but as 
members of the legislature and in many cases mem- 
bers of the Cabinet. Leaving out of consideration 
the fifty or so small protectorates or mandated ter- 
ritories, we note that India with its four hundred 
million inhabitants is mainly governed by a British 
civil service, and though we may believe in the 
good intentions of our Government to make it into 
a self-governing Dominion, we imprisoned with- 
out trial some seven thousand natives who spend 
their lives in propaganda for Indian independence, 
and condemned their remarkable and highly gifted 
leader, Nehru, to five years' rigorous imprison- 
ment 

The British Commonwealth of Nations is not 
alone among the capitalist democracies in the re- 
fusal to accept racial equality within its own ter- 
ritory, as a necessary characteristic of political de- 
mocracy. In the U.S.A. the negroes, though as- 
sumed by the federal constitution to be entitled to 
vote and to represent voters, are by the electoral 
law and administrative practice of particular states 
excluded from being fully-fledged citizens with 
the right to vote and to become representatives. 
The Dutch and Belgian empires have a like dis- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 23 

crimination against the native inhabitants . Hence, 
if equal rights to all races within a sovereign state 
is a necessary characteristic of political democracy, 
the USSR stands out as a champion of this form of 
liberty. 

Thus, one of the outstanding features of Soviet 
political democracy is racial equality; the resolute 
refusal to regard racial characteristics as a dis- 
qualification for the right to vote, to be deputies to 
tike legislative assembly, to serve on the executive 
or to be appointed salaried officials. One of the 
reasons for the Anti-Comintern Axis, uniting Nazi 
Germany, Fascist Italy and Shintoist Japan in hos- 
tility to the Soviet Union, was this insistence 
by the Bolshevist government on racial equality 
throughout the USSR. These three Great Powers 
were all alike intent on extending, by force of arms, 
the dominance of their own race over new terri- 
tories inhabited by so-called inferior races, who 
have no right to self-determination and were to ac- 
cept the social order imposed by the conqueror, or 
to risk extermination. 

The One-Party System 

There is, however, one characteristic of the po- 
litical democracy of the USSR as formulated in the 
Constitution of 1936 which needs explanation of 
how and why it exists, if only because it has led to 
a denial by some fervent political democrats that 



24 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

die Soviet Union is a political democracy. This 
seemingly objectionable feature is the One-Party 
System of government. 

I admit that as an original member of the British 
Labour Party and the wife of a leading member 
of His Majesty's Opposition and, for two short in- 
tervals, of a minority labour government, I had a 
stop in the mind when I read the following article 
in the New Constitution of the USSR, 1936: 

"In accordance with the interests of the working 
people and for the purpose of developing the or- 
ganized self-expression and political activity of the 
masses of the people, citizens of the USSR are en- 
sured the right to unite in public organizations 
trade unions, cooperative associations, youth or- 
ganizations, sport and defence organizations, cul- 
tural, technical and scientific societies; and the 
most active and politically-conscious citizens from 
the ranks of the working class and other strata of 
the working people unite in the All-Union Com- 
munist Party (of Bolsheviks), which is the van- 
guard of the working people in their struggle to 
strengthen and develop the socialist system and 
which represents the leading nucleus of all organi- 
zations of the working people, both social and 
state.** This means, in fact, though it is not ex- 
plicitly stated, that no other purely political or- 
ganization is permitted to function in the USSR* 

A study of the facts suggests that when a revolu- 
tionary government is confronted with the task of 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 25 

educating a mass of illiterate and oppressed 
peoples, of diverse races and religions, among 
them primitive tribes, not only to higher levels of 
health and culture but also in the art of self-govern- 
ment, there is no alternative to the One-Party Sys- 
tem with its refusal to permit organized political 
opposition to the new political and economic order. 
The recent history of the democratic Republic of 
Turkey established by that great statesman Kemal 
Pasha in 1920 is instructive. Faced with a far less 
difficult task, Kemal Ataturk copied the One-Party 
System of Turkey's friendly neighbour, the USSR. 
But after studying the democratic constitution of 
Great Britain he decided in 1930 to quote from 
a recent history of Modern Turkey "that Tur- 
key needed an opposition; contrary to the advice 
of the Party, he authorised an experienced politi- 
cian named Fethi Bey to form an opposition group 
in the Assembly, and had arrangements made to 
see that this group the Independent Republican 
Party secured some seats in the Assembly at the 
General Election." The experiment, we are told, 
"was not a success. The various social and reli- 
gious changes had aroused opposition among the 
reactionary elements in the country and the exist- 
ence of Fethi Bey's party provided a justification 
and focus for the expression of this opposition, 
There were street fights between supporters of the 
Opposition and supporters of the Government; 
numbers of the Independent Republican Party 



26 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
drifted back to the People's Party and the leader 
himself finally resigned. The regime was not suf- 
ficiently consolidated for opposition to it to be en- 
couraged in this way. What Ataturk had in view 
(apart from the conciliation of democratic opinion 
abroad) was the education of the people in politi- 
cal issues, for he believed that that education 
would come from the open clash of opinion in de- 
bate in the Assembly. Since the death of Ataturk 
the project has been revived this time with the 
approval of the People's Party. Twelve of the 
Party deputies were, in the summer of 1939, in- 
structed to form an opposition group of devil's ad- 
vocates in the Assembly. They remain, however, 
members of the Parliamentary group of the 
People's Party, and even attend its meetings, al- 
though they may not vote or take part in the dis- 
cussions there," * 

* Modern Turkey, by John Parker and Charles Smith, 1940, 
Routledge. "Freedom for Colonial Peoples" in Programme for 
Victory, Routledge. 

The insistence that an illiterate and uncivilized people requiring 
to be educated for the art of self-government before they can exer- 
cise the right freely and with good results has been brought out 
by the studies of Professor Macmillan of the natives of South Africa 
and the West Indies. An ardent supporter of democratic self-* 
government for the natives of our colonies, he describes his con- 
version, brought to him after years of experience, of the need for 
a period of apprenticeship to overcome "natural obstacles to free- 
dom." "It is unnecessary to remind you of the stultifying, soul- 
destroying effect of utter poverty and prolonged physical deficiency. 
Considerations of political freedom do not touch the oppression 
of poverty. That this always existed in Africa is clear. It was a 
revelation to me to find, in parts of Africa, quite untouched by 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 27 

This solution of an artificially created opposi- 
tion seems rather far-fetched. Perhaps the Soviet 
Union's invention of "non-Party" members, nomi- 
nated by trade unions, cooperative societies, col- 
lective farms and all other conceivable associations 
for science, the arts and sport, is a franker and more 
feasible method. By the term non-Party, I may 
explain, it is not implied that the delegate is an un- 
believer in the living philosophy of Soviet Com- 
munism, as would be the case in the use of the term 
non-Christian within a Christian community. All 
that is meant is that, in respect of the communist 
faith he is a layman: that is (to quote the second 
meaning in the New Oxford Dictionary}, "A man 
who is an outsider, or a non-expert in relation to 
some particular profession, art or branch of knowl- 
edge, especially to law and medicine." These 
non-Party delegates are said to form the majority 
in the hundreds of thousands of subordinate so- 
viets, village, city and provincial. Even in the 

white settlement, or any white influence at all, poverty every whit 
as abject as that induced by landlessness in South Africa" ( Freedom 
for Colonial People by Victory, p. 91, a collection of essays prepared 
by the Fabian Society, 1941). Hence Macmillan suggested that 
the superior race who have become the dominant power in a ter- 
ritory inhabited by a primitive race should, before they retire from 
an authoritative position, educate the native inhabitants not only 
in the art of self-government, but in the capacity to produce suffi- 
cient wealth for a healthy and a cultural life. For a more de- 
tailed study of the need for educating the natives in the art of self- 
government and the maximizing of production, see also Macmillan's 
Africa Emergent <Faber, 1938) and Democratization of the Empire 
(KeganPaul). 



28 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

All-Union Congress of Soviets of 1936 which 
enacted the New Constitution, they constituted 28 
per cent of the delegates. "Political democracy 
in a socialist state," so we are told by the most 
knowledgeable American student of Soviet Com- 
munism, who has lived and worked for many years 
in the Soviet Union, "demands clearly both the ex- 
pression of special interests of a relatively perma- 
nent nature, and the continuous correlation of all 
those interests into a unified program which 
shall not be the 'either or* of the two-Party system, 
but an honest attempt to satisfy as nearly as possi- 
ble the sum-total of popular demand. Both these 
needs are met by the Soviet Constitution. The 
special interests of the Soviet citizen are continu- 
ously expressed in the public organizations to 
which he belongs, his trade union, cooperative as- 
sociation, cultural, technical or scientific society. 
All these organizations have the right to nominate 
candidates for office (Article 141) and will cer- 
tainly avail themselves of the right. The Com- 
munist Party meantime exists as a central core of 
members in all of these organizations, drawing out 
their special demands, correlating them with the 
rest of the country, and leading them in a direc- 
tion of a stronger and more prosperous socialist 
commonwealth. . " * This unique characteris- 
tic of the Communist Party as created by Lenin and 

* Preface to Anne Louise Strong's translation of the New Soviet 
Constitution, pp 87-90, 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 29 

developed by Stalin and his associates, as an or- 
ganization for bringing civilization, not merely to 
millions of poverty-stricken Slav workers and peas- 
ants, released from legal serfdom eighty years ago, 
but also to Mongolian races and primitive tribes 
inhabiting the southern and eastern territories of 
the USSR, will be described later on. 

The Alternative of the One-Party System: the 
Referendum, the Initiative and the Recall * 

Let us now consider the present-day alternatives 
to the One-Party System as it exists in the USSR. 
First we have the most theoretically democratic of 
all methods of the government of the people by 
the people, that is, an assembly of the whole body 
of adult citizens, or if that be impracticable owing 
to masses of electors scattered throughout an ex- 
tended territory, the referendum, the initiative and 
the recall. Towards the end of the nineteenth 
century and the first decade of the twentieth cen- 
tury, this obvious type of political democracy was 
the fashion of the day; the exemplar of the long- 
established Republic of Switzerland f being cited, 

* In the New Constitution of 1936 the recall is permitted: 
Article 142. Every deputy shall be obliged to report to the electors 
on his work and on the work of the Soviet of working people's 
deputies, and may at any time be recalled by decision of a ma- 
jority of the electors in the manner prescribed by law. 

f There are many descriptions of the Swiss Constitution and the 
working of the referendum, the initiative and the recall. The most 
authoritative seems to be The Referendum in Switzerland, by Simon 
Deploige, advocate, translated into English by C. P. Trevelyan, 
edited with notes, introduction and appendices by Lilian Tom, 1898: 



30 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

described and applauded, especially by Conserva- 
tive politicians and journalists; but if free thought 
and free speech are the test of a political democracy 
it is one of the most backward of the western de- 
mocracies, judged by its written constitution, and 
its present law: no citizen of the Swiss Republic 
may be a member of the Jesuit Order or of the 
Communist Party. If he belongs to either of these 
somewhat discordant partners in the sin of hetero- 
doxy he may not reside in his native land. So far 
as Great Britain is concerned, we have already ex- 
perienced this primitive democratic structure in the 
Open Vestry, an assembly of all the male parish- 

"(5) The prohibition of the Jesuits, which was part of the pro- 
gramme of 1872, 'may be extended also by Federal ordinance to 
other religious orders whose action is considered dangerous to the 
state or disturbs the peace between sects' (Art. 51). 

"(6) The foundation of new convents or religious orders and 
the re-establishment of those which have been suppressed are 
forbidden (Art. 52)" (p. 115). 

See also Government in Switzerland,- by J. M. Vincent: 'The 
order of the Jesuits/' it is stated, "and societies associated with it, 
are forbidden to locate anywhere in the country, and their activity 
in church or school is entirely prohibited. The establishment of 
new monasteries, or the reopening of suppressed cloisters, is also 
forbidden. The downfall of the Jesuits in Switzerland was caused 
by their incessant interference in affairs of state, and the intense 
ultramontane character of their policy. It was chiefly their agita- 
tion that brought about the conflict of religions which resulted in 
the secession of the Sonderbund, and very nearly the downfall of 
the republic. It was determined that in future this particular ac- 
tivity should be excluded, since without the agitators the people 
would soon learn to accommodate themselves to each other's re- 
ligious views. . . The introduction of the Federal Constitution, 
the last edition being 1874, introduced proportional representation 
and destroyed the party system by the referendum, the initiative 
and the recall" (p. 275). 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 31 

ioners for the relief of the poor, the maintenance 
of roads, the policing of the parish and the levy- 
ing of the necessary rates to pay for these expen- 
sive services. The results were so calamitous that 
it was superseded by the Closed Vestry, that is, 
government by an oligarchy renewing itself by 
cooption; which, in the early decade of the nine- 
teenth century, gave place, in thickly populated 
districts, to the Select Vestries under the Sturges 
Bourne Act of 1818, a representative committee 
elected by the rate-payers, thus excluding the very 
poor. The referendum of particular proposals to 
local electors was continued, however, for some 
time, with calamitous results for those who believe 
in the extension of social services. I recall that in 
my husband's L.C.C.* constituency the proposal 
made by the local authority for the establishment 
of a public library was negatived by a large ma- 
jority, the library being afterwards established 
under statutory authority and being much appre- 
ciated by the population. More recent and spec- 
tacular experiments in the referendum, the initia- 
tive and the recall have been tried in some of the 
States of the U.S.A. So far as I know, the results 
have not been encouraging. 
Free Discussion prior to Legislative Enactment 

in the Union 

And here, I think, the political scientist might 
consider quite another use of the referendum, in- 

* London County Councfl, a political division of London. Ed. 



32 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

troduced by Soviet statesmen, which seems to me 
to combine the political and economic education 
of the ordinary man with a unique opportunity for 
the government to ascertain what the people are 
thinking and feeling on certain issues, before they 
proceed to submit the proposed projects of social 
reconstruction to the supreme representative as- 
sembly for acceptance or rejection. This device 
is to urge all available organizations, whether gov- 
ernmental or voluntary, to hold a series of meetings 
to discuss freely and openly the particular policy 
proposed by the government. This was markedly 
the case with the all-important New Constitution 
of 1936, after it had been drafted by the Commu- 
nist Party and the Presidium of the Soviet Union. 
There forthwith ensued the most spectacularly 
widespread discussion that has ever taken place in 
connection with any governmental action in his- 
tory. Under pressure of public demand copies of 
the draft constitution were issued in editions of ten 
and fifteen millions, until the grand total of sixty 
million copies was reached, a greater number than 
has ever been published of any document in such 
a brief period. In addition to this publication in 
pamphlet form, the Constitution was printed in full 
in more than ten thousand newspapers, with a 
total circulation of thirty-seven millions. Discus- 
sions were held in every farm, factory, school, 
workers' club. Classes met in repeated sessions to 
study it In all there were held 527,000 meetings, 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 33 

with an attendance of thirty-six and a half million 
people, all of whom felt themselves entitled to 
send in comments and amendments. The num- 
ber of suggested amendments which reached the 
Constitutional Commission, sometimes from indi- 
viduals and sometimes from organized meetings, 
totalled 134,000. These were sifted and consid- 
ered, and the more important suggestions discussed 
in full session. Some were adopted. Such a 
plebiscite is without precedent A people that 
uses its opportunities of debate so thoroughly has 
the main requirement for working democracy* 

This referendum prior to enactment of the New 
Constitution does not stand alone. In all the fac- 
tories and plants and in every trade union, con- 
sumers' cooperative movement, and the meetings 
of local Soviets, there is an interminable discussion 
by the people concerned of what should or should 
not be done, whether in national legislation or local 
administration. It is by these spontaneous and in- 
timate discussions of what actually happens or 
should happen in the workshop or mine, on the 
railways or in the collective farms, in the school 
or university, and even within the Communist 
Party, that the ordinary man and woman becomes 
an active citizen. This self-criticism to use the 
Soviet term - is in fact part of the process of edu- 
cating the people in the art of self-government. It 
also enables the national executive to ascertain 
what exactly are the reactions of all the people 



34 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

concerned to the proposed legislation. A notable 
instance was the reference, for public discussion 
throughout the country, of the proposed penaliza- 
tion of the practice of abortion, unless it were 
needed for the survival of the mother; a discussion 
which revealed the opposition of many women, in- 
tent on living the life they liked, and the support of 
men, anxious to secure the health of their woman- 
kind and the increase of the birth-rate deemed 
necessary for the Soviet Union. There are, of 
course, some objections to this freedom to criticize; 
it may result in hampering the initiative of the 
director of the plant or the commissar of a public 
authority. Moreover, when these criticisms are 
published in the press, they provide the hostile 
foreigner with evidence of the apparent failure of 
Soviet Communism. Indeed it is amusing to dis- 
cover that nearly all the books that are now written 
proving that there is corruption, favoritism and 
gross inefficiency in the management of industry 
and agriculture, are taken from reports of these 
discussions in the Soviet press, in Pravda, the organ 
of the Communist Party; in Isvestia, the organ o 
the Government; in Trud, the organ of the trade 
union movement, and in many other local and 
specialist newspapers. Imagine the thousands of 
bankruptcies, occurring every year in capitalist 
countries, being investigated not only by the work- 
ers concerned, but also by the inhabitants of the 
'distressed areas**; and their proceedings not only 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 85 

reported in the local press, but notified in the gov- 
ernment department concerned in maximizing pro- 
duction for community consumption. In Great 
Britain what material they would furnish to the 
critics of profit-making enterprise.* But to those 
who value free thought and free speech as the most 
important factor in a democratic world, these risks 
should seem worth running, as they do apparently 
in the Soviet Union. 

The Two-Party and Many-Party Systems 

And now for the past and present alternative to 
the One-Party System: the assumed Two-Party 
System of Great Britain and the U.S.A. or the 
Many-Party System as displayed in the German 
Second Reich inaugurated at Weimar in 1919, or 
in that much-honored Third Republic of France, 
established 1871. First, we note that in Great 
Britain since the Reform Act of 1832, right down 
to the present day, there has always existed a third 
party: during the nineteenth century the Irish 
Party, after 1906 the Labour Party, and since 1924 
the Liberal Party. This has resulted in minority 

* There is also what the American big business chiefs call "the 
English lovely law of libel," i.e. the use by big British capitalists 
of action for slander or libel to ensure the suppression of all criti- 
cism "of the malpractices of capitalist enterprise." This "accepted 
technique," to quote the Bishop of Birmingham's protest in the 
House of Lords, June 17, 1941, makes defense in die law courts 
so costly, sometimes running into "thousands or even tens of thou- 
sands of pounds, which are mere nothing to a multi-millionaire 
capitalist ring** but are so ruinous to private individuals that no 
one who is not himself a millionaire dares to risk it. 



36 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

governments on more than one occasion, which 
are upheld or let down by a party representing a 
small minority in the case of the Irish Party, a 
minority who were hostile to the Government of 
Great Britain whatever its policy might be. Even 
in the case of the Liberal Party and the Labour 
Party this support of an existing Government is 
given or refused according to whether or not the 
policy of the minority is implemented by the Front 
Bench,* quite irrespective of whether this policy 
happened to be desired by the majority of the in- 
habitants. The Two-Party System of the U.S.A., 
represented in the federal government by the Re- 
publican and Democratic parties, with their bosses 
and their "spoils system," and leading in the in- 
dividual states or municipalities to perpetual 
changes in the constitution, sometimes concentrat- 
ing dictatorial powers in a Governor or a Mayor, 
sometimes evolving one or two representative 
bodies checked by the referendum, the initiative 
and the recall, is not considered a satisfactory 
example of political democracy. One of the 
ablest and most recent students of the American 
political system states: "The present parties have 
had their life drained out of them and are now 
mere shells; collections of professional politicians 
trading the irrational loyalties of the mass of the 
voters. It is difficult to see any way of improving 
the existing parties. The Republicans have all 

* Party leadership. Ed. 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 37 

the faults bred by long success and the illusion that 
all is for the best in the best of all possible parties. 
The fidelity and success with which the G.O.P. 
served the dominant interest of the American eco- 
nomic system in the past two generations makes 
the party, today, less able than ever before to meet 
the altered demands of the new society. The 
party of business, by its tariff policy, its farm policy, 
its lack of any rational foreign policy, is now an 
enemy of many forms of big business. The rela- 
tionship between the party and business may have 
been symbiotic in the past, but it is now parasitic. 
The feeblest industries, the least hopeful activities 
of the American capitalist system, are those which 
the Republican Party is determined to foster. 
Nor is the Democratic Party any better. Much 
against its will, it has been unable to identify itself 
with the economically dominant forces of modern 
America and is therefore less committed to an ob- 
solete politico-economic technique; it has given 
fewer hostages to old fortunes. But what it gains 
in this direction, it loses by its internal incoher- 
ence. The victory of 1932 is probably meaning- 
less in relation to party fortunes. The nation has 
given the ship of state a new master and a new crew 
and given them sealed orders, If by a miracle of 
political boldness and sagacity, a new orientation 
could be given to national policy and that were 
accompanied by a revival of business, the Demo- 
crats might dig themselves in, but such a new 



38 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

course would require a degree of boldness and 
coherence which the Democrats no more than 
their rivals have had any chance of developing. 
If they remain content to be "maintained by the 
business interests as a combined lightning rod and 
lifeboat' (Paul H. Douglas, The Coming of a New 
Party, p. 164), they will give way to the Republi- 
cans as soon as the major party has got its breath 
back. If they start on a really new tack, they will 
split or cease to be the old Democratic party/' * 

Finally, we have the suppression of the Two- 
Party System which has taken place today. His 
Majesty's Government is no longer checked by His 
Majesty's Opposition, which has ceased to exist, 
The Front Opposition Bench is occupied by a few 
Tory and Liberal dissentients together with Labour 
men who support the Government. The official 
leader of the Front Opposition Bench is the Right 
Honourable Arthur Greenwood, a whole-hearted 
supporter of the National Government. Hence, 
today, we have in Great Britain a One-Party System 
which is (so the Prime Minister suggests) to con- 
tinue for some years after the ending of the war. 
Meanwhile the three official parties, Conservative, 
Liberal and Labour, have agreed not to contest any 
bye-election, so as to leave the political Party rep- 
resented by the retiring or dead M.P. in undis- 
puted possession of the seat. I remember a British 

* The American Political System, by D. W. Brogan, 1933, pp. 
$83-^384. 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 39 

Prime Minister who was also a distinguished phi- 
losopher observing that the Two-Party System, 
within a political democracy, is all right "so long 
as there is no fundamental difference of opinion 
between the two Parties." Is the transformation 
of Great Britain from a capitalist democracy to a 
socialist democracy with its planned production 
for community consumption, and its elimination 
of the profit-making motive, the fundamental dif- 
ference of opinion which will make the Two-Party 
System impracticable? * 

* Further, who actually govern the Great Britain of today? Is it 
the rapid succession of Cabinet Ministers and their under-secretaries, 
who come and go, or the permanent civil servants? The practice 
of changing the principal officers of a government department with 
a change of the Party in power, as is usual in the United States 
of America, is universally condemned by political scientists as lead- 
ing to favoritism and even to financial corruption, in deciding who. 
these civil servants should be. In Great Britain the salaried officials 
appointed by the national government or local government au- 
thorities are life appointments, in the higher positions recruited 
mainly by competitive examination. In the case of highly special- 
ized occupations, such as medical men, lawyers and chartered ac- 
countants and sanitary inspectors, this examination is conducted 
by the professional organization and therefore consists, like the 
Soviet Communist Party, of a self-elected 6lite who alone can prac- 
tise the profession, whether they are appointed by the state or 
employed by private individuals. For these reasons the civil serv- 
ice as a whole may be considered as a self-determined Slite with 
a specialized knowledge and an obligatory code of personal con- 
duct, and to some extent a social outlook approved of by the exist- 
ing government, largely influenced by that^of the superior civil 
servants who belong, by origin, and always ~by social ties, to the 
landed and capitalist class. It is noteworthy that some of the 
ablest of the superior civil servants are attracted out of government 
service by the offer from great capitalist enterprises of salaries four 
or five times greater than those of the head departments. During 
the present war the reverse process has taken place, and some of 



40 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

Even more sensational has been the fate of the 
Many-Party System, based on proportional repre- 
sentation and a second ballot, characteristic of 
the political democracies of continental Europe, 
whether old-established or created by the Ver- 
sailles Treaty. Why have the majority of these 
political democracies collapsed, during the last 
twenty years, to be superseded by a constitutional 
dictatorship of one sort or another? First Italy, 
then in quick succession Portugal, Spain, Poland, 
Greece, Austria, some if not all of the Baltic and 
Balkan states, and finally the two great tragedies 
of the Weimar Republic of Germany established 
in 1919, and the honored Third Republic of 
France; whilst the democratic governments of 
Czechoslovakia, Norway,* Holland and Belgium 

the most important salaried posts have been transferred to profit- 
making capitalists, thus strengthening the capitalist system as 
against the socialist movement as represented by the Labour Party. 
Today the headship of most of the new functions of government, 
rendered necessary during the war, such as the rationing of food, 
the control of shipping, and other types of war production and dis- 
tribution, have been taken over by business men who have been 
and are still connected with the particular type of capitalist enter- 
prise concerned. 

* "Norway has no two-party system, but proportional representa- 
tion. The whole country is not one constituency but is divided 
into eighteen provinces and eleven groups of towns with propor- 
tional representation within each separate constituency. Since the 
last Great War no party has commanded an absolute majority in 
the national parliament, called the Storthing, and no government 
has been a majority government This means that generally the 
administration has not been very strong. . . There was a feeling 
that political institutions and procedures had not been readjusted 
to meet modern conditions; in many quarters there was a craving 
for 'more business in politics and less politics in business.' Certain 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 41 

are exiled from their own countries and have their 
headquarters in Great Britain. It is a strange fact 
that die only constitutional political democracies 
established in Europe after the Great War, to sur- 
vive to the present day, are, in fact, the USSR and 
the Republic of Turkey, both of which have recog- 
nized in their constitution the One-Party System 
of government.* 

I cite these failures of the traditional Two-Party 
System of the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. and 
of the Many-Party System of other European capi- 
talist democracies, not in order to pave the way for 
the adoption of the One-Party System of the USSR 
and the Republic of Turkey, but to raise the ques- 

sections in the press were constantly trying to ridicule the Storthing 
and the whole political system as not efficient enough. And- the 
complex party situation called for a thorough discussion of the 
very principles of our parliamentary system. . . 

"But anybody taking this as an evidence of budding sympathy 
for a totalitarian system of government would have been entirely 
mistaken. It was rather evidence of a growing realization of the 
waste of energy in Party strife, of a groping toward new means 
of minimizing the costs of friction in public life, of a realization 
of the fact that national politics does not mean merely fighting 
fighting other Parties and platforms and their political ideas and 
conceptions, but that it means also (and in daily routine more 
than anything else) cooperation and coordination." See I Saw it 
Happen in Norway, by Carl J. Hambro, pp. 66, 70-71. 

* One of the cardinal defects of the Two-Party or Many-Party 
System, as contrasted with government by a permanent civil serv- 
ice, or the equivalent, a One-Party 6Ute, is that the immediate pur- 
pose of a general election, contested by rival Parties, is to bring 
into office a group of men many of whom have no technical qualifi- 
cation, whether as administrators, or for dealing with such special- 
ized services as national finance, or the supervision of courts of 
law, foreign or military affairs, special services of education, health 
insurance and unemployment. 



42 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

tion whether sociologists have yet solved the prob- 
lem of how to organize the government of the peo- 
ple by the people, and be it added, for the good of 
the people? Is the problem which we have to solve 
the ascertainment of the personal or public opinion 
of the inhabitants if they have any as to what 
should be the exact policy of the government in 
the complicated issues of home and foreign affairs; 
or is it the understanding and consequent consent 
of the inhabitants to policies originating in the ad- 
vice of specialists, with an agreed scale of values 
of what is right or what is wrong, and with sufficient 
scientific knowledge of what has happened and is 
happening, to be able to forecast what will happen 
if certain steps are taken to make it happen? 

Will Political Parties survive? 

It is obvious that when there is civil war within 
a country, or international war between sovereign 
states, the One-Party System with its suppression 
of incipient revolt or Fifth Column treachery, will 
and must prevail. Once class conflict between 
"a nation of the rich and a nation of the poor" 
within a community or war between sovereign 
states has ceased to trouble humanity, I see no rea- 
son for the survival of political Parties, One, Two 
or Many, seeking to dominate the whole life of the 
country on all issues, home and foreign. I foresee 
a rise of infinite varieties in the grouping of men 
and women for different but not inconsistent pur- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 48 

poses. These associations will include as a matter 
of course the trade unions and consumers' coopera- 
tive movements, collective farms and industrial co- 
operatives, professional associations with definitely 
ascertained qualifications for the service of the 
community such as lawyers, medical men, archi- 
tects and accountants, and civil servants. There 
may even be associations of individual producers, 
preferring a lonely but unregulated life, producing 
and selling stray articles sufficient for meeting 
their own personal needs. But besides all these 
organizations concerned with the production of 
commodities and services needed for the material 
progress of a community, there will be organiza- 
tions for scientific research, for music and acting, 
for sports and games and heaven knows what else, 
even for participation in religious rites and cere- 
monies, in order to live a holy life with the hope 
of personal immortality or of absorption in the 
spirit of love at work in the universe. All these 
bodies will seek to be represented on local councils 
and the national representative assembly, elected 
by all the adult inhabitants within a particular 
area; not in order to fight each other for supremacy 
in all issues of the nation's home and foreign af- 
fairs, but so as to secure the opportunity of contrib- 
uting their peculiar knowledge, skill, artistic gifts 
or ethical codes of conduct to the life of the nation. 
So-called "free thought and free expression by 
word and by writ" mocks human progress, unless 



44 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

the common people are taught to think and in- 
spired to use this knowledge in the interests of 
their commonwealth. This will be done by lec- 
tures and discussions among their fellow citizens 
up and down the country; by seeking election to 
representative assemblies or serving on administra- 
tive executives* It is this widespread knowledge 
of and devotion to the public welfare that is the 
keynote of Soviet Democracy. 

The Democratic Control of the Instruments of 
Production, Distribution and Exchange 

At this point I reach the most distinctive and 
unique characteristic of Soviet Communism: the 
democratic control of land and capital. This en- 
tails a brief summary of the Marx-Engels interpre- 
tation of the structure and the working of capitalist 
profit-making the dominating feature of what is 
termed "Western Civilization." 

Karl Marx in his long study of the capitalist 
profit-making system in Great Britain the land 
of its birth admitted that in its earliest stages it 
had two outstanding achievements. Through the 
use" of power, mechanization and mass production 
carried out by multitudes of weekly wage-earners, 
the wealth of the nation had been enormously in- 
creased. But it had done more than this. By 
sweeping away the network of feudal obligations 
between king and barons, the lord and his tenant, 
and the craftsman and his guild, and by substitut- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 45 

ing for these outworn ties the individualist creed 
of free competition with the minimum of state in- 
terference, Western Civilization had secured for 
the fortunate few who have inherited, or gained, 
a secure and sufficient livelihood, an absence of 
restraint in thought, word and act unknown to the 
mediaeval world. Unfortunately this same capi- 
talist profit-making led to mass destitution, to low 
wages, long hours, bad housing and insufficient 
food. In the famous words of Disraeli, it divided 
Great Britain into "a nation of the rich and a nation 
of the poor/' The all-powerful governing class of 
landlords and capitalists had, in fact, refused to 
multitudes of men, women and children that other 
and all-important ingredient of personal freedom 
the presence of opportunity to live a healthy., 
happy and cultured life. Even more disastrous to 
the welfare of the community is the constantly re- 
curring unemployment of millions of men, gradu- 
ally producing a hard kernel of workless people, 
mostly young persons, who become, as years pass 
by, veritable parasites. One evil Marx did not 
foresee. There would be not only unemployment 
on a vast scale, but a sinister decline of die birth- 
rate threatening the survival of our race as a sig- 
nificant factor in human progress. What British 
socialists failed to realize was the truth of Karl 
Marx's prophecy, that with the advent of monopoly 
capitalism, with its restricted production, and when 
profits failed, periods of bad trade would not di- 



46 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

minish, but would increase in intensity and dura- 
tion. Thus the landlords and capitalists in the 
European sovereign states would, in order to use 
profitably their surplus capital, seek new lands to 
conquer in Africa and Asia, inhabited by helpless 
natives, easy to cheat and enslave. This would 
lead to aggressive imperialism on the part of the 
Great European Powers. The climax would be 
world war, which, if not prevented by an interna- 
tional uprising of the proletariat, might destroy 
Western Civilization by mutual mass murder and 
the wholesale destruction of property and lead to 
a return of brutal barbarism a forecast which 
has been dramatically fulfilled. Hence the slo- 
gan: "Workers of the world, unite: you have noth- 
ing to lose but your chains, and a new world to 
win/* 

But what should be the new world order when 
the workers were in the seat of power? Karl 
Marx had suggested a "dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat/' to be followed, in some undefined way, by 
a "classless society." When fanatical followers 
argued among themselves what exactly these 
phrases meant, and appealed to their leader, Karl 
Marx is reported to have observed, "I am not a 
Marxist" which implied that the future socialist 
order would have to be determined by the scien- 
tific study of future events which could not be fore- 
seen. Lenin discovered, when the Bolsheviks 
achieved power, that a classless society had to be 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 47 

slowly built up by the deliberate but gradual evo- 
lution of a multiform democracy: the organization 
of man as a citizen, man as a producer and man as 
a consumer. Thus the Bolshevik Party, led by 
Lenin, proceeded to develop a powerful trade 
union movement, now numbering more than 
twenty million members, including all the workers, 
by hand and by brain, employed in state or munici- 
pal and consumers' cooperative enterprises; also 
of the consumers* cooperative movement, today 
numbering over thirty-seven million members, the 
largest and most active in the world. There re- 
mained over the agricultural population, the larg- 
est element in Tsarist Russia; consisting of a few 
great landlords and a minority of well-to-do Kulaks 
owning agricultural land and employing labor at 
miserably low wages, in order to make profit by the 
production and sale of agricultural products, whilst 
the vast majority were poor peasants, always on 
the point of famine whether as agricultural labor- 
ers or as the owners of tiny plots of land. Lenin 
did not undertake to solve this problem. He 
thought that it was impracticable at that stage of 
development to sweep away the profit-making mo- 
tive in agriculture. After his death, Stalin and his 
associates persuaded the All-Union Congress of 
the Communist Party to adopt, and the Supreme 
Soviet of the USSR to apply, the principle of the 
collectivization of agriculture embodied in associa- 
tions of self-governing worker-producers. After 



48 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

1929 thousands of collective farms opened up 
tibroughout the Soviet territory, today numbering 
well over two hundred thousand. These collec- 
tive farms had what has been termed a mixed 
economy. Unlike the agricultural cooperative 
societies of Scandinavia and the U.S.A., the mem- 
bers of the collective farms are not profit-making 
employers of labor, whether in their own farms 
or in joint factories for the preparation of food 
products and the selling to the retailers. They 
are associations of agricultural workers engaged 
in a common task of cultivating the land for the 
supply of food, whether vegetable or animal. 
Nor is personal property excluded from this 
mixed economy: it is usual for each worker and 
his family to be allotted a piece of land which 
they can cultivate for the supply of their own 
food, the surplus being sold in the neighboring 
free market, where they can buy commodities 
produced in the neighborhood. These collec- 
tive farms hold the land on a permanent lease 
from the government without payment of rent so 
long as they fulfil their collective obligation to 
the community. In return for the use of the 
land they are required to sell to the government a 
defined amount of the product, for which they are 
paid fixed prices, selling the surplus in the local 
market; they also depend on the government for 
the supply of tractors and often for the skilled 
mechanics provided by the government local trac- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 49 

tor stations. Any inequality in the fertility of the 
land held by a particular collective farm, or its ac- 
cess to nearby markets, is remedied by an income 
tax on the members as a whole, and on the individ- 
uals who are selling commodities in the free mar- 
kets. Thus the government exercises a monetary 
control over the collective farms.* 

It must be added that for the cultivation of plants 
and the breeding of animals involving specialized 
knowledge and scientific research, there are state 
farms, either belonging to the national or local gov- 
ernments, and administered with the active co- 
operation of the trade union movement, as is the 
case in all completely socialized institutions. 

Is the USSR a Multiform Democracy? 

Now it is important to note that, throughout die 
development of this multiform democracy, Lenin 
and Stalin both realized that it was man as a citizen 
through the political state that had to be the pre- 
dominant partner, if only because, unlike the or- 

* This type o organization associations of self-governing 
owner-producers is also that of specialized workers, such as 
fishermen and the hunters of fur-producing animals, as well as the 
handicrafts for the production of specialized articles, and in a few 
cases of factory and mine workers. These industrial cooperatives 
or self-governing workshops today include over two million workers 
and show every sign of increasing. Within the capitalist profit- 
making system they have heen a failure in spite of the devoted 
propaganda of the Christian Socialists in 18401860 or the more 
revolutionary fervor of the Guild Socialists in 1910-1922. The 
few that have survived are closely connected with and dependent 
on the consumers* cooperative movement. 



50 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

ganization of the producers in trade unions or col- 
lective farms, or of the consumers in the consumers' 
cooperative movement, political democracy repre- 
sents all the inhabitants of a given territory. It is 
necessary to emphasize this plain and indisputable 
fact, because the supremacy of the political democ- 
racy over industrial democracy not only angers the 
anarchists, who want to be free of all control, by 
whomsoever exercised, but upsets those who be- 
lieve in "workers' control" or the "dictatorship of 
the proletariat" What is still more surprising is 
that some avowed believers in political democracy 
suspect the duly elected deputies of becoming, 
somehow or other, "dictators" of a peculiarly sinis- 
ter type. But it is clear that it is only an assembly, 
representing all the inhabitants on its executive, 
that is entitled, according to democratic principles, 
to preserve public order by law courts and police, 
and to defend the country from the aggression of 
foreign powers, and therefore to maintain an army, 
navy and air force. Moreover, there is the supply 
of electricity and pure water, transport by land and 
water, reclamation of deserts and waterlogged low- 
lying land turned into mud by slow winding rivers, 
enterprises which, in sparsely inhabited territories, 
may not yield profits to the capitalist and will there- 
fore not be undertaken. Even more outstanding are 
the social services designed to provide for the 
health and education of all the inhabitants, for 
scientific research, music, art, even games and 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 51 

sport; in a word, the culture for a progressive peo- 
ple. All these activities require an income which 
can only be raised in one of three different ways: 
( 1 ) taxation of individuals or groups; ( 2 ) the sur- 
plus value over cost of production yielded by state 
and municipal enterprises for home consumption; 
or (3) by foreign trade, exchanging goods which 
the nation does not require (i.e. gold in the USSR) 
or can make more cheaply for commodities which 
they do not possess but require for the consump- 
tion of their own citizens. Hence the need for the 
establishment of a planning department (Cos- 
plan), perhaps the most important of all the min- 
istries included in the Council of People's Commis- 
sars for the successive Five-Year Plans from 1928 
to 1942. 

The Constitution of 1936 based on the Rights and 
Obligations of Man 

This elaborate structure, including a declaration 
of the rights and obligations of the individual cit- 
izen, is described and laid down as the law of the 
land in the Articles of the New Constitution of 
1936. This remarkable document ought to be 
studied by all sociological students. Where it 
differs from the two historic Declarations of the 
Rights of Man the American and the French 
at the end of the eighteenth century, is that it 
insists on the fundamental fact, that without this 
obligation on the part of all the inhabitants, all 



52 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
the time, to provide security and produce plenty, 
the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happi- 
ness will be an idle dream for the vast majority of 
the inhabitants of a given country. 

Here are a few of its 134 Articles, in its 13 chap- 
ters, which I pick out as defining the structure and 
activities that I have attempted to summarize. 
Article 4 lays down that "The economic foundation 
of the USSR consists of the socialist economic sys- 
tem and the socialist ownership of the tools and 
means of production, firmly established as a result 
of the liquidation of the capitalist economic system, 
the abolition of private ownership of the tools and 
means of production, and the abolition of the ex- 
ploitation of man by man." This does not mean 
that the state should take over all the means of 
production, distribution and exchange. Article 5 
insists that "Socialist property in tie USSR has 
either the form of state property ( the wealth of the 
^hole people) or the form of cooperative col- 
lective property (property of separate collective 
farms, property of cooperative associations)." Ar- 
ticle 6, that "The land, its deposits, waters, forests, 
mills, factories, mines, railways, water and air 
transport, banks, means of communication, large 
state-organized enterprises (state farms, machine- 
tractor stations, etc. ) , and also the basic housing 
facilities in cities and industrial localities, are state 
property, that is the wealth of the whole people/' 
It is interesting to note that this economic democ- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 53 

racy does not interfere with private property for 
personal use, so long as this property is not made 
the opportunity for exploiting land or labor by 
profit-making landlords or capitalists. Thus Ar- 
ticle 9 provides that "Alongside the socialist system 
of economy, which is the dominant form of econ- 
omy in the USSR, the law allows small-scale pri- 
vate enterprise of individual peasants and handi- 
craftsmen based on their personal labor, provided 
there is no exploitation of the labor of others/' 
Finally Article 10, "The right of personal'property 
of citizens in their income from work and in their 
savings, in their dwelling-house and auxiliary hus- 
bandry, in household articles and utensils, and in 
articles for personal use and comfort, as well as the 
right of inheritance of personal property of citizens, 
is protected by law." 

There are other rights which are protected by 
the New Constitution. For it ensures to every 
citizen not only protection against aggression and 
arbitrary arrest, but also the right to have remun- 
erative work; for the women the right to a specially 
elaborate provision for motherhood; for both sexes 
the right to specified hours of rest and paid weeks 
of holiday; the right of education of every kind 
and grade and at any age; and, most far-reaching 
of all, the right to full economic provision, accord- 
ing to need, in all the vicissitudes of life this 
formal enactment of such enormously extended 
"rights of man" is but the explicit consecration in 



54 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

the Constitution of what was throughout the USSR 
already very largely in operation. Over and above 
all this elaborate organization Article 11 insists that 
"the economic life of the USSR is determined and 
directed by a state plan of national economy in the 
interests of increasing the public wealth, of steadily 
raising the material and cultural standard of the 
working people, and of strengthening the inde- 
pendence of the USSR and its capacity for 
defense."* 

Finally, all these rights are complemented by 
obligations on the part of th'e individual citizen. 
Article 12 enacts that "Work in the USSR is a duty 
and a 'matter of honor' for every able-bodied 
citizen,, on the principle 'He who does not work 
shall not eat/ " Thus, "in the USSR the principle 
of socialism is realized: 'From each according to 
his ability, to each according to his work/" 
Once this principle has been acted on the human 
race can progress to the higher level of commu- 
nism: "From each according to his faculty and to 
each according to his need." 

This fundamental transformation of the social 
order the substitution of planned production 
for community consumption, instead of the capi- 
talist profit-making of so-called "Western Civiliza- 
tion" seems to me so vital a change for the bet- 
ter, so conducive to the progress of humanity to 
higher levels of health and happiness, virtue and 
wisdom, as to constitute a new civilization. This 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 55 

is not to say that in twenty years the Soviet Union 
has achieved a condition of plenty as statistically 
opulent as the richest capitalist nations have 
reached in^the course of several centuries. In 
spite of a material progress during these twenty 
years which has probably never been equalled in 
any other country at any period of its history, the 
one hundred and eighty million Soviet citizens 
(excluding the territory regained in 1939-1940) 
have still an insufficient supply of what seem neces- 
saries of civilization to name only two, of bed- 
rooms and baths! What is really significant in 
this connection is the economic discovery that this 
substitution, for profit-making manufacturing, of 
planned production for community consumption, 
frees the nation not only from the alternation of 
booms and slumps, but also, by ensuring a ubiquit- 
ous effective demand in the growing population, 
from the hitherto incessant social malady of in- 
voluntary mass unemployment. As to increasing 
plenty, Soviet Communism has the guarantee not 
only of a continuous advance of technical science, 
but also of the psychological discovery by the 
workers that the planning system eliminates the 
enemy party in the production, distribution and 
exchange of commodities and services. The en- 
tire net product of the community is, in fact, 
shared among those who cooperate in its pro- 
duction, in whatever way they themselves decide, 
without tribute to an hereditary parasitic class. 



56 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

This produces an emotional passion for pro- 
duction among the millions of workers by hand 
and by brain such as heretofore has only been 
manifested in other countries by the individual 
peasant proprietor or the profit-making entre- 
preneur. In the USSR it is the trade unions that 
most strongly insist on the utmost use of the 
labor-saving machinery, and who have de- 
veloped the famous Stakhanov movement and 
socialist emulation between the workers of one 
factory and those of another factory, so as to 
produce more at a less cost and thus increase 
the wealth of the nation. 

The Communist Party: its Origin 

To what group of men can this remarkable trans- 
formation in so short a time be attributed? For 
it must be recalled that a bare twenty years ago 
the vast territory of Soviet Russia was a scene of 
indescribable misery and confusion; a defeated 
army with millions killed arid wounded; workers 
and peasants everywhere in revolt; famine and 
epidemics raging through the land. Five Great 
Powers had invaded, or were invading the country; 
first victorious Germany, to grasp more land; then 
Great Britain, France and even the U.S.A. to help 
the White Army to restore the Emperor to his 
throne; whilst Japan was in occupation of some of 
Siberia. No one outside Russia, except a few 
fanatical communists, believed in the early twen- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 57 

ties that Bolshevik Russia could or would survive. 
Today, despite violent prejudices against the new 
social order on the part of capitalist governments 
and their supporters, all the governments of the 
world, whether dictatorships or political democ- 
racies, are compelled to recognize that the USSR 
is a Great Power, with a stabilized population of 
two hundred millions; a decline of the death-rate 
and rise of the birth-rate; no unemployment, and, 
so many competent investigators think, a steadily 
rising standard of health, comfort and culture, for 
the vast population of one-sixth of the earth's sur- 
face. 

No one denies, whether he admires or abhors 
the daily life and destiny of the two hundred mil- 
lion inhabitants of the USSR, that it is to the Com- 
munist Party, as created by Lenin and developed 
by Stalin and his associates, that the credit or dis- 
credit of the entire organization of the Soviet Union 
belongs. What is the origin and constitution of 
the Bolshevik Party? What is its living philosophy 
and what are its activities? And finally, what are 
its defects, or "infantile diseases/' to use Lenin's 
term, which may or may not be permanent? 

The All-Union Party ( of Bolsheviks ) , which to- 
day is its official title, first appeared in 1898 at 
Minsk, as the result of a cleavage in the Social 
Democratic Party of Russia, two separate parties 
emerging the Bolshevik, the Majority Party, 
and the Menshevik, the Minority Party. I need 



58 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
not, in this summary, describe in detail the tangled 
history of the Communist ( Bolshevik) Party of the 
USSR. The Bolshevik Party led by Plekhanov 
and afterwards dominated by Lenin, was inspired 
by the Marxian vision of a world revolution, whilst 
the Menshevik adhered to the liberal policy of the 
German Social Democratic Party and the British 
Labour Party during the first two decades of the 
twentieth century. Unlike his Russian predeces- 
sor, unlike any other party organizer, Lenin had no 
use, within the Bolshevik Party, for mere sympa- 
thizers, for partly converted disciples who were 
ready to vote for his Party. The Bolshevik Party 
was not a Party of electors prepared to give their 
vote for candidates selected by the Party; popular 
election did not exist in Tzarist Russia. The Party 
that Lenin forged for his revolutionary activities 
became, after die seizure of power, the organiza- 
tion by which alone the revolution, so Lenin be- 
lieved, would be maintained and directed. Today 
it exists, as the student of political science will 
realize, chiefly as;the means by which the people 
of the USSR, in all their multiform participation 
in public affairs that we have described, have been 
supplied with a political, intellectual and legisla- 
tive elite enjoying the confidence of the people by 
its disinterestedness, its superior training and its 
practical insight into the needs of the immediate 
situation, able to guide the people's uncertain state 
during the first period of its new freedom. Other- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 59 

wise there would have been no continuous guid- 
ance, no persuasion, ubiquitous and consistent, of 
the hundred and sixty million inhabitants belong- 
ing to different races, mostly illiterate, scattered 
over one-sixth of the earth's surface. 

Its Organization 

The elaborate constitution of the Communist 
Party described in the sixty-paged chapter of So- 
viet Communism is a complicated type of demo- 
cratic self-government of which I can here give 
only a mere outline. From first to last there is no 
mention of an autocratic leader whose will is law. 
The Communist cell, the basic organization to be 
found in every type of association, industrial and 
agricultural, scientific and cultural, even associa- 
tions for games and sport, elects deputies to local 
conferences of the Party, and from these confer- 
ences deputies are appointed to the congress of the 
Party of each constituent republic or autonomous 
region, and from thence to the supreme authority 
of the Party the Ail-Union Congress of the 
Communist Party meeting at Moscow. So far as 
its internal constitution is concerned, it is a demo- 
cratic organization, similar to the recognized pro- 
fessions in Great Britain of medical men and sur- 
geons, of barristers and solicitors, and it admits 
new members after examination to test their ca- 
pacity to practise the vocation concerned. Where 
it differs from these professional organizations is 



60 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

in the rigor and all-inclusiveness of the conditions 
imposed on the members, and in the variety and 
importance of its activities. 

"Puritan" Ethics 

What, for instance, is the code of conduct for 
the individual member? Here I may note that 
there is a stop in the mind of former Bohemian ad- 
mirers of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917-1922 
regarding what seems to them a terrifying resur- 
rection of what they call "puritan ethics ." Within 
the Communist Party and among the five million 
Comsomols (the organization of youth) sexual 
promiscuity, like all forms of self-indulgence, has 
come to be definitely thought contrary to com- 
munist ethics, on the grounds enumerated by 
Lenin: *lt is a frequent cause of disease; it im- 
pairs the productivity of labor; it is disturbing to 
accurate judgment and inimical to intellectual ac- 
quisition and scientific discovery, besides fre- 
quently involving cruelty to individual sufferers." 
This insistence on self-restraint, in all cases where 
the health and happiness not only of the individual 
person but also of the community are at risk, ac- 
counts for the penalization of homosexuality and 
for the limitation of abortion to cases in which the 
life of the child-bearing mother is threatened 
reforms which are violently denounced by some 
of the more anarchic of Soviet critics. Most re- 
actionary of all, from the standpoint of the liber- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 61 

tarian, is the outspoken approval of the lifelong 
attachment of husband and wife as the most ap- 
propriate setting under communism for family life. 
Thus the test of membership of the Communist 
Party is fundamentally that of acceptance of an 
ideology relating to man in his relation to man, 
and man's relation to the universe, from which is 
evolved an exceptionally strict code of conduct, 
not imposed on the ordinary citizen, a code which 
all members must carry out, the sanction being 
reprimand, or, if obdurate, expulsion from mem- 
bership. It has even added, in its new category 
of "sympathizers/' something analogous to the 
'lay brothers" of the religious orders. In fact, in 
the nature of its mentality, as in the code of per- 
sonal conduct, the Communist Party resembles 
more a religious order than the organization of the 
learned professions of Western Europe, such as 
those of lawyers and doctors, engineers and public 
accountants. 

The Education of the People 

Can I sum up the purpose the vocation, of the 
Communist Party of two million five hundred thou- 
sand members, reinforced by five million Com- 
somols, who are at work in the USSR today? They 
constitute, it is said, the vanguard of the proletariat, 
or, varying the metaphor, the spearhead of its ac- 
tivity, in the maintenance of the Bolshevik revolu- 
tion and the building-up of the state. But what 



62 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

does this mean in practice? At all times more 
than half the party membership continues at its 
manual labor in the factory or the mine, in the 
oilfields or at the hydro-electric plants, on the 
farms or in the railway or postal services, they serve 
in the armed forces on land, sea and in the air, 
with the mercantile marine or the river-transport 
vessels. The specific Party duty is so to lead their 
working lives as to be perpetually influencing the 
conduct of all their fellow citizens among whom 
they work. They must set themselves to be the 
most zealous, the most assiduous, the most efficient 
workers of their several establishments. They 
must neglect no opportunity of raising their own 
qualifications and increasing their technical skill. 
They must make themselves the leaders among 
the wage-earners, employing every means of edu- 
cating the non-Party mass in communist doctrines 
and Soviet policy. In the meetings of the trade 
union and die consumers' cooperative society, as 
in the manufacturing artel and the collective farm, 
they must, in concert with their comrades in the 
concern, constantly take an active part, using their 
influence to guide the whole membership towards 
the most complete fulfilment of the function of 
the organization in the socialist state, along the 
lines from time to time authoritatively prescribed 
by the All-Union Congress held at Moscow and 
addressed by the Party leaders, of whom, as I have 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 63 

before stated, Stalin exercises the greatest influ- 



ence. 



The Living Philosophy of Soviet Communism 

But there is another factor in Soviet Commu- 
nism, setting it in contrast with the civilization of 
the western world. It is based on an intellectual 
unity throughout all its activities; it definitely re- 
jects every remnant of the superstition and magic 
which the twentieth-century man in the capitalist 
democracies retains in his conception of the uni- 
verse and of man's place in it. That is to say. 
Soviet Communism has a new ideology as well as 
a new economics. Soviet Communism puts no 
limit to the growth of man's knowledge. It counts, 
in fact, on a vast and unfathomable advance of 
science in every field, but it refuses to accept as 
knowledge, or as the basis of its code of conduct, 
any of the merely traditional beliefs and postulates 
about man and the universe for which no rational 
f oundation can be found, or any of the purely sub- 
jective imaginings of the metaphysician or the 
theologian. It excludes, and dogmatically ex- 
cludes, the supernatural, whether this takes the 
form of the primitive belief in good and evil spirits, 
or the more civilized reliance on a one omnipotent 
God (whether or not opposed by a Devil) involv- 
ing the immortality of all human beings, each in- 
dividual being destined for Heaven, Purgatory or 



64 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

Hell This new living philosophy, termed scien- 
tific humanism, is working out the ethics of a new 
civilization arising from its own experience of so- 
cial life. And in that pragmatic evolution of a 
code of conduct based essentially upon the hy- 
giene of the individual and of the social organism 
of which he forms part, Soviet Communism is 
assisted by the essential unity in principle of its 
economics and its ethics. Under Soviet Commu- 
nism, with its planned production for community 
consumption, the pecuniary gain to the profit- 
making entrepreneur, nicknamed the "Economic 
Calculus," the free working of which is the be-all 
and end-all of capitalist civilization, is deemed an 
undesirable guide to action, whether public or 
private. 

Scientific Humanism 

To quote the last words of the last book of the 
Webb partnership, in the postscript to the second 
edition: "The dominant motive in everyone's life 
must be not pecuniary gain to anyone but the wel- 
fare of the human race, now and for all time. For 
it is clear that everyone starting adult life is in debt 
to the community in which he has been born and 
bred, cared for, fed and clothed, educated and 
entertained. Anyone who, to the extent of his 
ability, does less than his share of work, and takes 
a full share of the wealth produced in the com- 
munity, is a thief, and should be dealt with as such. 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 65 

That is to say, he should be compulsorily reformed 
in body and mind so that he may become a useful 
and happy citizen. On the other hand, those who 
do more than their share of the work that is useful 
to the community, who invent or explore, who ex- 
cel in the arts or crafts, who are able and devoted 
leaders in production or administration, are not 
only provided with every pecuniary or other fa- 
cility for pursuing their chosen careers, but are also 
honoured as heroes and publicly proclaimed as 
patterns and benefactors. The ancient axiom of 
'Love your neighbour as yourself is embodied, not 
in the economic but in the utilitarian calculus, 
namely, the valuation of what conduces to the per- 
manent well-being of the human race. Thus in 
the USSR there is no distinction between the code 
professed on Sundays and that practised on week- 
days. The citizen acts in his factory or farm ac- 
cording to the same scale of moral and ethical 
values as he does to his family, in his sports, or in 
his voting at elections. The secular and the re- 
ligious are one. The only good life at which he 
aims is a life that is good for all his fellow men, 
irrespective of age or sex, religion or race/' 

The Infantile Diseases of Soviet Communism 

At last I come to the question: What have been 
the disreputable features, the infantile diseases, 
to use the Leninist term, of the new social order 
during the twenty years of its existence? Or, to put 



66 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

the question more bluntly: What exactly is die 
indictment of Soviet Communism on the part of 
those who insist that it is a step backward in human 
progress and therefore should be opposed by the 
capitalist democracies? 

There is, of course, the complete pacifist who ob- 
jects to the use of physical force, whether to upset 
a cruel tyrant at home or to repel a foreign power 
bent on new lands to conquer a living philoso- 
phy and code of conduct which neither I nor the 
vast majority of the critics of Soviet Communism 
regard either as practicable or desirable as the way 
of promoting the welfare of mankind. I will there- 
fore pass it by as irrelevant to the purpose of this 
introduction,* 

The Treason Trials 

Let us take the first objection. During the three 
or four years from the autumn of 1917 to 1922, the 
Bolshevik Government had established itself in 
Moscow and had succeeded in repelling the Ger- 
man, British, French, American and Japanese in- 
vasion, of that part of the territory of Tsarist 
Russia which the Bolsheviks thought themselves 
capable of defending. For some time after they 
had made a formal peace with their recent enemies 
they were confronted not only by local rebellions 

* Those readers who are complete pacifists may be interested 
in an article by me in I Believe (a volume of essays by twenty- 
three eminent men and women published by George Allen and 
Unwin, pp. 337-338), where I give my reasons fox rejecting the 
assertion "that all wars are wrong.** 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 67 

but by continuous and extensive underground 
sabotage in the newly established plants and fac- 
tories, mines and means of communication, work- 
ers' flats and hospitals, by the remnant of the up- 
holders of the old Tsarist regime, all of which had 
to be summarily suppressed. But this obviously 
necessary use of force was not the only task 
awaiting the revolutionary government. History 
proves that in all violent revolutions, those who 
combine to destroy an old social order seldom 
agree as to what exactly should be the political 
and economic pattern of the new social organiza- 
tion to be built up to replace it. Even our own 
limited revolution of 1689 in Great Britain, 
whereby a Protestant king by Parliamentary statute 
was substituted for a Catholic king, by Divine 
Right, was followed, for nearly a hundred years, 
by generation after generation of conspirators to 
whom treason and rebellion, spying and deceit, 
with or without the connivance of a foreign power, 
were only part of what they deemed to be a right- 
ful effort to overturn an even worse state of home 
and foreign affairs than they had joined as rebels 
to destroy. Thus, when we published the second 
edition of Soviet Communism in 1937, the out- 
standing scandal, so hostile critics of the Soviet 
Union declared, were the Treason Trials which 
took place in the thirties, not only of old Bolshevik 
comrades of Lenin and opponents of Stalin's sub- 
sequent policy, but also of the best known com- 



68 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

manding officers of the Red Army, many of whom 
had been Tsarist generals, transferring their alle- 
giance to the Bolshevik Government in order to de- 
fend their native land from invasion by German, 
British, American, French and Japanese armies; 
but who, it was alleged and I think proved, had 
begun to intrigue with the German Army against 
the new social order of the Soviet Union. The 
most important of these conspiracies was the Trot- 
sky movement against the policy of building up 
socialism in one country as impracticable and in- 
sisting that the Bolshevik Party should abide by 
what was held to be the Marx-Lenin policy of pro- 
moting proletarian revolutions throughout the 
world. The success of the Soviet Government in 
instituting not only a political but an industrial 
democracy, and thereby enormously increasing 
the health, wealth and culture of the inhabitants, 
and the consequent recognition of the USSR as a 
Great Power, discredited the Trotsky movement, 
which I think was finally liquidated by the murder 
of Trotsky in Mexico by one of his own followers. 
Today, and for some time, there has been no sign 
of conspiracies or faked conspiracies within the 
Soviet Union. The fear of German invasion and 
the consequent dominance of the Nazi system of 
racial oppression has made clear to all the bona 
-fide citizens of the USSR the overwhelming de- 
sirability of keeping out of world war as long as 
possible, meanwhile devoting their energies to in- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 69 

creasing their means of livelihood and their defen- 
sive power; whilst the capitalist democracies and 
Axis powers were engaged in mutual mass murder 
and the destruction of property. When the Ger- 
man attack plunged Russia into war it was im- 
mediately apparent that the inhabitants of the 
USSR, whether soldiers or civilians, men, women 
and young people, were so convinced of the bene- 
fits yielded to the Socialist Fatherland that they 
resisted not only with reckless courage, but with 
considerable skill and ingenuity the powerful on- 
slaught of the highly mechanized German Army 
hitherto victorious conquerors of one country after 
another. 

There are, however, features in Soviet Com- 
munism which are either wholly absent in Great 
Britain, the self-governing Dominions and the 
U.S.A., or are far less virulent and permanent than 
they seem to be in the Soviet Union of today. 

The Idolization of the Leader 

The first of these is the idolization of one individ- 
ual as an infallible leader who must be reverenced 
and obeyed and not criticized. This idolization 
was seen in the popular elevation of Lenin, notably 
after his death, to the status of saint or prophet, 
virtually canonized in the sleeping figure in the 
mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square, where he 
was, to all intents and purposes, worshipped by 
the adoring multitude of workers and peasants who 



70 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

daily pass before him. After Lenin's death it was 
agreed that his place could never be filled. Some 
new personality had to be produced for the hun- 
dred and sixty million inhabitants of the USSR, 
most of whom were illiterate, deplorably super- 
stitious and incapable of grasping the new phi- 
losophy of the Communist Party. Among the 
leaders of the Communist Party there ensued a 
tacit understanding that Stalin should be '"boosted" 
as the supreme leader of the proletariat, the Party 
and the state. His portrait and his bust were ac- 
cordingly distributed by tens of thousands. But 
this idolization of Stalin has largely ceased to exist 
in the Soviet Union of today. In the village, mu- 
nicipal and union Soviets, local heroes are held up 
for the admiration of and imitation by the people; 
heroes of the workshop and of the field, heroes 
of research and exploration, ordinary everyday 
people whose heroism consists not in an isolated 
courageous act under the stress of emotion, but in 
outstanding continuous application of courage and 
intelligence, initiative and self-discipline. The 
portraits of these heroes and heroines are to be seen 
everywhere. Moreover, Stalin's recent step down 
from the pedestal of the Holy Father of the Com- 
munist Party to the prosaic position of Prime Min- 
ister, elected strictly according to the constitutional 
procedure of a political democracy, has, so to 
speak, secularized his status and made it that of 
any other Prime Minister ultimately dependent on 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 71 

the votes of the people. When Stalin disappears 
from the scene will he have a successor as an 
idolized figure? I doubt it. The very concep- 
tion of an infallible or a mysteriously inspired 
leader is wholly inconsistent with the Marx-Lenin 
materialist interpretation of history. Lenin would 
have mocked at his idolized figure in the mauso- 
leum in the Red Square of Moscow. Stalin has 
never claimed to he more than the duly appointed 
official of the Communist Party and the demo- 
cratically elected member of the Supreme Soviet 
of the USSR. Hence, I believe this infantile dis- 
ease will die out with the spread of education 
among the multitude and the practice of the scien- 
tific method in all branches of human activities. 
With a more enlightened electorate and the emer- 
gence of men with specialized talents I foresee that 
the influence now exercised by Stalin will be in- 
herited by a group of prominent members of the 
Communist Party, of its All-Union Congress, quali- 
fied to stand for the central committee and its sub- 
ordinate councils. This group who happen to be- 
come the recognized leaders of the party will grow 
larger and more diversified with the development 
of new scientific technique in all departments of 
government, alike in Moscow and in its constituent 
republics. 

The Disease of Orthodoxy 
Far more repugnant to our western political 
habits is the absolute prohibition within the USSR 



72 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

of any propaganda advocating the return to capi- 
talist profit-making or even to any independent 
thinking on the fundamental social issues about 
possible new ways of organizing men in society, 
new forms of social activity, and new development 
of the socially established code of conduct. It is 
upon this power to think new thoughts, and to 
formulate even the most unexpected fresh ideas, 
that the future progress of mankind depends. 
This disease of orthodoxy in a milder form is not 
wholly absent in the capitalist political democ- 
racies. No one suggests that Switzerland is not a 
political democracy, and yet, as I have already 
noted, members of the Society of Jesus are not only 
refused citizenship but are actually banished from 
their native land, a penalization which has been 
extended of late years to the members of the Third 
International, assuredly a strangely discordant 
couple to be linked together in the dock of Swiss 
Courts of Justice accused of the propaganda of 
living philosophy incompatible with the public 
safety. Likewise the U.S.A., in some of the con- 
stituent States, through the device of Primaries, 
has excluded the Communist Party, and today even 
the Socialist Party, from selecting the candidates 
for election to the legislature of those states; while 
in one or two states being a member of the Com- 
munist Party is punished by penal servitude. In 
Oklahoma City, we are told in the New York Na- 
tion, December 28, 1940, "mere membership in the 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 73 

Communist Party is regarded as a crime punisha- 
ble by imprisonment for ten years and a fine of 
5000 dollars. This vindictive sentence was passed 
on Robert Wood, state secretary of the Party, in 
October, and has now been repeated in the case 
of Alan Shaw, twenty-two-year-old secretary of 
the Oklahoma City Local. In neither case was 
any overt act charged. Both men were convicted 
of violating the state criminal syndicalism law on 
evidence consisting of selected passages from the 
works of Marx, Lenin and Stalin. Since the ideas 
put forward in these books were those of Com- 
munist leaders, it was charged, they must also be 
subscribed to by the accused. . ." 

Whenever a country is threatened with foreign 
invasion or revolutionary upheaval, the suppres- 
sion of sects advocating disobedience to the law, 
sabotage or giving information to the enemy is a 
necessary use of force on the part of a government, 
however democratically representative of the ma- 
jority of the inhabitants it may be. Have we not 
imprisoned two M.P/s and a distinguished ex- 
Cabinet Minister, and some thousand other fellow 
citizens ? Have we not interned thousands of well- 
conducted and even distinguished foreigners be- 
cause they were suspected of a like antagonism to 
our existing social order? Have we not blamed 
the tolerance of Norway, the Netherlands and Bel- 
gium towards what is termed Fifth Column activi- 
ties, i.e. propaganda by its own citizens of the Nazi 



74 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

system as an alternative to their own type of gov- 
ernment? 

It is not surprising, therefore, that there should 
have been intolerance, on the part of the Soviet 
Government, towards free thought and expression, 
by word and by writ, of antagonism to its home and 
foreign policy. How does this intolerance differ 
in character from the intolerance manifested in 
Great Britain? As we have described previously, 
free criticism, however hostile it may be, is per- 
mitted, even encouraged, in the USSR, of the 
directors of all forms of enterprise, by the workers 
employed, or by the consumers of the commodities 
or services concerned. In Great Britain no such 
detailed and personal criticism by the workers em- 
ployed, or by the consumers of commodities and 
services concerned, is tolerated by capitalist profit- 
makers when they close down works or charge 
monopoly prices, or even if they go bankrupt 
through inefficiency or fraudulent practice. 
Moreover, when anxious to encourage historical 
research, the Soviet Government is singularly open- 
minded and has just published a translation of the 
complete works of Ricardo into Russian, which 
is exactly as if the British Government were to issue 
from the Stationery Office a translation into Eng- 
lish of the complete works of Marx, Engels and 
Lenin. 

There is, however, a type of suppression of free 
thought by word and by writ that is absent from 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 75 

capitalist democracies but is indisputably present 
in the USSR. No criticism of the living philosophy 
of the Communist Party is permitted in the Soviet 
Union. It would, for instance, be impossible to 
issue a stream of pamphlets against Soviet Com- 
munism and in favor of the capitalist system, such 
as the Fabian Tracts for Socialists, or the works of 
G. D. H. Cole and Harold Laski, criticizing capi- 
talism and suggesting various forms of socialist 
organization; it would be still more impossible to 
publish a condemnation of Soviet Communism 
such as the Webbs' The Decay of Capitalist Civili- 
sation. Nor would there be permitted in the 
USSR newspapers and periodicals as favourable to 
profit-making capitalism as the Daily Herald, the 
weekly Tribune or the monthly Left Book "News 
(leave alone the Labour Monthly] are to the vari- 
ous types of socialism. I venture to prophesy that 
this form of intolerance which we term the dis- 
ease of orthodoxy will prove to be merely the 
growing pains of a new social order which has 
struggled into existence in a hostile world. I may 
note, in passing, that owing to the increasing ur- 
gency of war, our Home Secretary has banned, 
for the last fourteen months, one daily paper 
the Daily Worker and has threatened another 
the Daily Mirror with a like fate. I see no 
reason to doubt that with the increased prosperity 
of the Soviet Union, at peace with the world, the 
Communist Party of the USSR, whose living phi- 



76 THU TKUTH ABOUT SOVIET KUSS1A 

losophy depends for its realization on the scientific 
method, will gradually lift the bar to free discus- 
sion in the press about rival conceptions of politi- 
cal and economic systems, if only to increase the 
prestige of the new civilization among the intel- 
ligentsia of other countries, and, be it added, to 
gratify the passion for discussion, day in and day 
out, of every conceivable issue, practical and theo- 
retical, which distinguishes the Russian Slav, the 
majority race of the USSR. 

The Commintern or Third International 

At first sight the least important, but in many 
ways the most injurious feature of the internal 
structure of the Soviet Union, exciting the enmity 
of the British and other Capitalist Democracies, 
are the highly organized Communist Parties whose 
policy is dominated by the Commintern in Mos- 
cow, presided over by Dimitrov, the Bulgarian so- 
cialist rendered famous by his courageous and suc- 
cessful defense during the celebrated Berlin trial 
springing out of the burning of the Reichstag in 
1933. These Communist Parties within the terri- 
tories of the Allied Governments, have pursued 
what has been termed a "contortionist" * policy, 

* See the angry pamphlet issued by the Labour Party Publica- 
tion Department, Transport House, April 1940: Stalin's Men 
"About Turn." A more elaborate and documented denunciation 
of this sudden twist-round of the Communist Party, June 22, 1941, 
is Victor Gollancz's able book, Russia and Ourselves. It is notable 
that neither one nor the other mentions the fact that the Com- 
munist Party is by its constitution dependent for its policy on the 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 77 

in order to serve the national interests, not of their 
own country, but of the USSR. In the first stages 
of the Allies' war with Germany, during the period 
of the German Soviet Pact of 1939, they denounced 
the war as an "imperialist war, wholly in- the inter- 
est of the ruling capitalist and landlord classes of 
Great Britain, intent on safeguarding and extend- 
ing the British Empire with its dominion over the 
colored races of Africa and Asia." But directly 
Hitler's German Army marched, without warning, 
into the USSR, they suddenly turned round and 
started a campaign for an all-out war against Hit- 
ler's barbarous Nazi armed forces. How far 
Premier Stalin and his colleagues in the Sovnar- 
kom and the Presidium approve of the continued 
existence of the Third International is unknown. 
In the two years after Lenin's death, Stalin success- 
fully advocated the policy of building up a multi- 
form democracy which would eliminate the capi- 
talist and the landlord within the vast territory of 
the USSR; and he denounced Trotsky's alternative 
of organizing, in other countries, violent revolu- 
tions against the capitalist system. Hence the 
foreign policy of the Soviet Government has been, 
throughout the leadership of Stalin, in favor of 

Commintern at Moscow; if that ceased to exist, the little group of 
able men presided over by the distinguished scientist Professor 
J. B. S. Haldane and the honest and able labor leader Harry Pollitt, 
as general secretary, could become members of the local Labour 
Parties or of the Fabian Society, and take an active part in the 
organization of a united Labour and Socialist Party. 



78 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

peace, if possible enforced by the League of Na- 
tions, and if that broke down, secured by treaties 
of non-aggression between the Soviet Union and 
all other sovereign states, without attempting to 
interfere with the internal organization of each 
other's countries. Persistent rumor suggests that 
he would like to see the Commintern disappear, 
but, owing to its foundation by Lenin during the 
first glorious days of the revolution of 1917, he is 
not prepared to suppress it.* 

There is however another explanation for the 
continued existence of a British branch of the Com- 
mintern or Third International, and the continued 

* We are told in the most authoritative history of the Communist 
Party Outline History of the Communist Party of the Soviet 
Union, 2 vols., by N. Popov that (pp. 61-62) 'The First, Con- 
stituent, Congress of the Communist International was held at the 
beginning of March 1919. It was attended by delegates from 
Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Germany, the United States, 
Norway, Hungary, Switzerland, Finland, Britain and other coun- 
tries. The central question at the Congress was that of bourgeois 
democracy and proletarian dictatorship, the report on this ques- 
tion being made by Lenin. In his introductory speech at the 
opening of the Congress, Lenin said: 'It is only necessary to find 
that practical form which will enable the proletariat to realize its 
domination. Such a form is the Soviet system with the proletarian 
dictatorship. . /** In Lenin's book State and Revolution we are 
told the purpose of the Commintern " 'This victory of the world 
proletarian revolution calls for the greatest confidence, the closest 
fraternal union and the greatest possible unity of revolutionary 
action on the part of the working class in progressive countries. 
These conditions cannot be achieved unless a determined rupture 
is made on matters of principle, and a ruthless struggle is waged 
against the bourgeois distortion of socialism which has gained .the 
upper hand among the leaders of the official Social-Democratic 
and Socialist parties' " (p. 63). 



IJttLJi JNJB-YV L.IVULi/tAlIUJN Ytf 

clash of this organization with the Labour and 
Socialist Parties within the capitalist democracies 
in which the blame is on the other side. From the 
very outset of the Bolshevik revolution in the au- 
tumn of 1917, the International Federation of 
Labour and Socialist Parties (known in former 
years as the Second International) has actually 
accepted, as representing the Russian people, three 
hardened counter-revolutionaries, who opposed 
Lenin and the revolution of 1917, and since then 
have continued to intrigue against the Soviet Gov- 
ernment It is also a regrettable fact that the In- 
ternational Federation of Trade Unions, represent- 
ing the Trade Union movement of the capitalist 
democracies, has refused to accept, as members, 
representatives of the Ail-Union Central Com- 
mittee of Trade Unions (AUCCTU) with its 
twenty-three million members. It is an odd fact 
that it is only the International Cooperative Al- 
liance which has from the first to last accepted 
representatives of the Central Board of the Cen- 
trosoyus with its thirty-seven million members.* 

*This "odd fact" is explained by the similarity in constitution 
and activities of the Consumers* Cooperative Movement in the 
Soviet Union and in capitalist countries; whereas there is a striking 
difference ( as will be understood by readers of the foregoing pages ) 
between the constitution and activities of the Trade Union Move- 
ment within Capitalist Democracies, compared to the multiform 
democracy of the Soviet Union. This disparity of aim is even 
more true in the case of the Labour and Socialist Parties in capitalist 
countries, compared with the activities of the Communist Party in 
the USSR, with its planned production for community consumption 
as the accepted economic structure. 



80 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
Let us hope that Sir Walter Citrine by his wise 
recognition, on terms of equality and warm friend- 
ship, of the Ail-Union Central Committee of the 
Trade Unions of the USSR, will remedy this dis- 
astrous situation within the trade union world and 
that henceforth the Red trade unions will be rep- 
resented by Russian trade unionists in the Inter- 
national Federation of Trade Unions. If so, we 
may hope that the International Federation of 
Labour and Socialist Parties will follow suit and 
that the Third International and Second Interna- 
tional will be thus merged in one organization aim- 
ing at a new social order within their own countries 
as well as permanent peace among all the nations 
of the world. 

Britain and Russia: Social Reconstruction at Home 

One more question. Why have I exhausted the 
dwindling strength of an Over-Eighty in arguing 
that Stalin is not a dictator, whose word is law, as 
Hitler is, and Mussolini tried to be; that the USSR 
is not only a fully fledged political democracy, but 
also an industrial democracy, with a powerful trade 
union and consumers' cooperative movement, with 
a newly invented type of associations of owner- 
producers in the collective farms and industrial 
cooperatives, all alike under the control of the cen- 
tral and local government of a representative de- 
mocracy, without distinction of sex, class or race? 
And finally, that through planned production for 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 81 

community consumption, and the elimination of 
the profit-making motive, the Soviet Union has, in 
the short space of twenty years, increased the op- 
portunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of hap- 
piness for the vast majority of its near two hundred 
million inhabitants, scattered over one-sixth of the 
earth's surface? 

I started this task with the approval and help of 
my life partner (also an Over-Eighty) because we 
thought it desirable that all those who are sincere 
in their avowed intention of creating a new social 
order within their own country, designed to elimi- 
nate the poverty in the midst of plenty, characteris- 
tic of the wealthiest and the most powerful of 
the capitalist democracies the United Kingdom 
and the United States of America should study 
the internal organization of the USSR so as to avoid 
its mistakes and learn from its successful experi- 
ments. Owing to Great Britain's unified and 
stabilized population and unwritten constitution 
which permits every possible alteration, the estab- 
lishment of this new social order need not involve 
a violent upheaval against a despotic and corrupt 
government, as it did in Tsarist Russia. Thus the 
British people will be able to avoid the crudities 
and cruelties inherent in a sudden and violent revo- 
lution, rendered more ruthless by the intervention 
of foreign powers in favor of the old Tzarist re- 
gime. On the other hand, in order to carry out 
this social reconstruction, without undue delay, it 



82 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

will be desirable to study the bolder experiments 
practicable in the USSR owing to the fact that the 
revolutionary government swept away the rem- 
nants of the old social order and therefore had a 
clear field for experiments, deliberately devised, 
to carry out their new living philosophy of scientific 
humanism. We may discover that many of the 
newly formed institutions are not contrary to the 
living philosophy of the Christian religion which 
the political leaders of the capitalist democracies 
assure us is the foundation-stone of our own civili- 
zation, but are actually more in accordance with 
the precept of 'love thy neighbour as thyself* than 
the root impulse of profit-making enterprise, "each 
man for himself and devil take the hindmost" 

Cooperation for a New World Order 

But this peaceful establishment of an equitable 
humane social order has ceased to be the main 
purpose of this essay. The vital issues confront- 
ing the British people are, first to win the war and 
then to win a permanent peace. It is obvious that 
the heroic resistance, over a battle-front of 1500 
miles, put up not only by the Red Army and Air 
Force, followed by a successful offensive, but also 
by civilians, men, women and children, is helping 
us to win the war in a shorter time than was prac- 
ticable before Great Britain's all-out alliance with 
the USSR. What seems crystal clear, even if we 
beat Germany to her knees and occupy her terri- 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 83 

tory and emancipate the conquered peoples, we 
shall not secure a permanent peace without the 
whole-hearted consent of the USSR. In order to 
obtain this cooperation in setting up a new League 
of Nations for the prevention of aggression, we 
must treat the government and people of Soviet 
Russia as equals, without any reserve arising from 
the deep-seated antagonism of our ruling class to 
the internal organization of the socialist fatherland. 
For it is difficult to deny that during the period be- 
tween the two world wars the ruling class of Great 
Britain was hostile to the continuance of Soviet 
Communism even within the land of its birth. In 
the remarkable book Ambassador Dodds Diary 
published after his death there is documentary 
evidence that the governments of Great Britain 
and the U.S.A. were, through their diplomatic rep- 
resentatives, official and unofficial, trying to turn 
Hitler's aggressive "intuitions" away from their 
sea-bound frontiers towards the common enemy 
of Hitler's Germany and the capitalist democracies 
of the U.S.A. and the British Commonwealth of 
Nations the Soviet Union. This would mean 
that Germany would have secured the enormous 
resources of oil, minerals and foodstuffs in the 
Ukraine and the Caucasus, and might have been 
able to defeat the superior man-power of the USSR 
with its one hundred and eighty million inhabit- 
ants. 

Today the scene has changed. Our great Prime 



84 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

Minister Churchill has secured national unity by 
the reorganization of his Cabinet on the basis of 
close collaboration with the Soviet Union in de- 
cisively beating Hitler's Army in the west, recap- 
turing the Baltic Provinces, with a possible joint 
occupation of Berlin by the Allied armies. When 
this has been accomplished the four Great Powers 
the United States of America, Great Britain, the 
Soviet Union and the hdroic Chinese represented 
by Kai-shek can render Japan powerless by 
bombing her cities and munition factories from 
the Siberian airfields and invading with armed 
forces Manchuria, and thus collaborating in throw- 
ing Japanese armies out of China. 

This new outlook entails abandoning the hostile 
attitude of some sections of our ruling class towards 
the internal structure of the new social order es- 
tablished in the USSR. For if we fail to treat her 
on terms of equality as a democratic and freedom- 
loving people, how can we win the war against 
Hitler's barbaric hordes intent on world domina- 
tion, and reconstruct on a democratic basis the 
devastated states of Denmark and Norway, of the 
Netherlands and Belgium, of Poland, Czechoslo- 
vakia and Jugoslavia, and above all, of the down- 
cast and humiliated inhabitants of the great his- 
toric Republic of France. The recent treacherous 
assault of Japan on the U.S.A. and the British Com- 
monwealth of Nations, and the preliminary vic- 
tories of the Japanese air force in Malaya, the 



THE NEW CIVILIZATION 85 

Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, is another 
instance of the urgent need of an all-out coopera- 
tion with the USSR, with our other ally China, 
against the barbarous Axis Powers. Whether we 
like it or not, it seems that, owing to the closeness 
of her lengthy frontiers, in the west and in the east, 
to Germany and Japan, the Soviet Union will be- 
come the paramount military Power in "winning 
complete victory for the Allies. "The whole 
civilized world," said the late British Ambassador 
to Moscow Sir Stafford Cripps in his farewell 
message to the Soviet people, "proclaims your vic- 
tories, and we, your allies, are proud to count our- 
selves as such. But the end is not yet. The 
power of the Nazis is shaken but not broken. . . 
When victory comes, of which we are so confident, 
our two nations will have the privilege of leading 
the peoples of Europe towards a civilization of 
sanity and cooperation. Together we must march 
forward to that victory. Together we must work 
and plan to bring about the happier life which 
their sufferings and their patience have earned for 
the masses of humanity. . 

B.W. 
February 1942. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 
[COMPLETE TEXT] 

We are indebted for this admirable translation of the 
Russian text to Mrs. Anna Louise Strong, who has given a 
dozen years to the USSR. It is curious that there is no offi- 
cial version in English of the Soviet Constitution, but Eng- 
lish is not one of the eleven official languages in the USSR. 
Mrs. Strong has examined seven translations, all made by 
staffs of experts: The Moscow News translation (MN), 
the Cooperative Publishers (CO), the International Pub- 
lishers (IP), the Lawrence and Wishart (LW), tie In- 
precor (INP), a translation made by the Soviet Em- 
bassy in Washington (SE) and a translation made by an 
English-speaking embassy in Moscow for official use 
(LEG). T5be first five vary considerably among them- 
selves but tend towards a sovietized English not always 
clear to the average reader; the SE translation has im- 
proved on much of their phrasing, but not on all. (Note 
the ungrammatical use of "Union Republic" for constituent 
republic.) The LEG makes important improvements 
from the standpoint of legal English, but tends occasion- 
ally towards a too-legal phrasing which violates the clear 
simplicity of the Russian text. Mrs. Strong has earned 
our thanks by preserving the feeling of the original in a 
simple, direct and readable translation. Her book, The 
New Soviet Constitution [New York, 1937, 164 pp.], af- 
fords the best account of the coming of the constitution. 

86 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 87 

CHAPTER I 

THE STRUCTURE OF SOCIETY 

ARTICLE 1: The Union of Soviet Socialist Re- 
publics is a socialist state of workers and peasants, 

ARTICLE 2: The political foundation of the 
USSR consists of Soviets of working people's depu- 
ties, which grew up and became strong as a result 
of the overthrow of the power of landlords and 
capitalists and the winning of the dictatorship of 
the proletariat. 

ARTICLE 3: All power in the USSR belongs to 
the working people of town and country as repre- 
sented by Soviets of working people's deputies, 

ARTICLE 4: The economic foundation of the 
USSR consists of the socialist economic system and 
the socialist ownership of the tools and means of 
production, firmly established as a result of the 
liquidation of the capitalist economic fystem, the 
abolition of private ownership of the tools and 
means of production, and the abolition of the ex- 
ploitation of man by man. 

ARTICLE 5: Socialist property in the USSR has 
either the form of state property ( the wealth of the 
whole people) or the form of cooperative-col- 
lective property (property of separate collective 
farms, property of cooperative associations). 

ARTICLE 6: The land, its deposits, waters, for- 
ests, mills, factories, mines, railways, water and air 



88 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

transport, banks, means of communication, large 
state-organized farm enterprises (state farms, ma- 
chine-tractor stations, etc.) and also the basic 
housing facilities in cities and industrial localities 
are state property, that is, the wealth of the whole 
people. 

ARTICLE 7 : Public enterprises in collective farms 
and cooperative organizations, with their livestock 
and equipment, products raised or manufactured 
by the collective farms and cooperative organiza- 
tions, as well as their public structures, constitute 
the public, socialist property of the collective 
farms and cooperative organizations. 

Aside from the basic income from socialized col- 
lective farm husbandry, every collective farm 
household shall have for personal use a plot of 
land attached to the house and, as personal prop- 
erty, the subsidiary husbandry on the plot, the 
house, productive livestock, poultry, and small 
farm tools according to the statutes of the farm- 
ing artel. 

ARTICLE 8: The land occupied by collective 
farms is secured to them without time limit, that 
is, for ever. 

ARTICLE 9: Alongside the socialist system of 
economy, which is the dominant form of economy 
in the USSR, the kw allows small-scale private 
enterprise of individual peasants and handcrafts- 
men based on their personal labor, provided there 
is no exploitation of the labor of others. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 89 

ARTICLE 10: The right of personal property of 
citizens in their income from work and in their 
savings, in their dwelling-house and auxiliary hus- 
bandry, in household articles and utensils and in 
articles for personal use and comfort, as well as the 
right of inheritance of personal property of citizens, 
is protected by law. 

ABTICLE 11: The economic life of the USSR is 
determined and directed by a state plan of national 
economy in the interests of increasing the public 
wealth, of steadily raising the material and cul- 
tural standard of the working people, and of 
strengthening the independence of the USSR and 
its capacity for defense. 

ARTICLE 12: Work in the USSR is a duty and a 
matter of honor for every able-bodied citizen, on 
the principle : He who does not work shall not eat. 

CHAPTER n 

THE STRUCTURE OF THE STATE 

ARTICLE 13: The Union of Soviet Socialist Re- 
publics is a federal state, formed on the basis of the 
voluntary union of the following Soviet Socialist 
Republics equal in rights : 

The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic; 
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The White Russian Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic; 



90 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic; 
The Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic. 

ARTICLE 14: Within the jurisdiction of the Un- 
ion of Soviet Socialist Republics, as represented by 
its highest organs of power and organs of state adr 
ministration, shall lie: 

(a) Representation of the Union in interna- 
tional relations; conclusion and ratification of trea- 
ties with other states; 

( lo ) Questions of war and peace; 

( c ) Admission of new republics into the USSR; 

( d ) Supervision of the observance of the consti- 
tution of the USSR and ensurance of the conform- 
ity of the constitutions of the constituent republics 
with the constitution of the USSR; 

(e) Confirmation of changes of boundaries be- 
tween constituent republics; 

(/) Confirmation of the formation of new ter- 
ritories and provinces as well as new autonomous 
republics within the constituent republics; 

(g) ^Organization of the defense of the USSR 
and the direction of all the armed forces of the 
USSR; 

(h) Foreign trade on the basis of state mo- 
nopoly; 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 91 

(i) Protection of the security of the state; 

(/) Establishment of national economic plans 
of the USSR; 

( k ) Confirmation of the unified state budget of 
the USSR, as well as of the taxes and revenues 
which go to form the All-Union, the republic and 
the local budgets; 

(I) Administration of banks, industrial and agri- 
cultural establishments and enterprises, and also 
of trading enterprises of All-Union importance; 

( m ) Administration of transport and communi- 
cations; 

(n) Direction of the monetary and credit sys- 
tem; 

( o ) Organization of state insurance; 

( p ) Contracting and granting of loans; 

(q) Establishment of the fundamental prin- 
ciples for the use of land, as well as for the exploita- 
tion of its deposits, forests and waters; 

(r) Establishment of the fundamental prin- 
ciples in the domain of education and public 
health; 

($) Organization of a single system of national 
economic accounting; 

(?) Establishment of the principles of labor 
legislation; 

(u) Legislation governing the organization of 
courts and judicial procedure; criminal and civil 
codes; 

(t>) Laws regarding citizenship of the Union; 



92 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

laws concerning the rights of foreigners; 

( w ) Passing All-Union acts of amnesty. 

ARTICLE 15: The sovereignty of the constituent 
republics shall be restricted only within the limits 
set forth in Article 14 of the constitution of tlie 
USSR. Outside of these limits, each constituent 
republic shall exercise state power independently. 
The USSR shall protect the sovereign rights of the 
constituent republics. 

ARTICLE 16: Each constituent republic shall 
have its own constitution, which shall take into ac- 
count the peculiarities of the republic and be 
drawn up in full conformity with the Constitution 
of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 17: The right freely to secede from the 
USSR is reserved to each constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 18 : The territory of the constituent re- 
publics may not be altered without their consent. 

ARTICLE 19: The laws of the USSR shall have 
like force in the territories of all constituent re- 
publics. 

ARTICLE 20: In case of conflict between a law 
of a constituent republic and a law of the Union, 
the All-Union law shall prevail. 

ARTICLE 21: A single Union citizenship is es- 
tablished for all citizens of the USSR. Every 
citizen of a constituent republic is a citizen of 
the USSR. 

ARTICLE 22: The Russian Soviet Federated So- 
cialist Republic shall consist of the following ter- 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 93 

ritories: Azov-Black Sea, Far-Eastern, West Si- 
berian, Krasnoyarsk and North Caucasus; of the 
provinces: Voronezh, East Siberia, Gorky, West- 
ern, Ivanovo, Kalinin, Kirov, Kuibyshev, Kursk, 
Leningrad, Moscow, Omsk, Orenburg, Saratov, 
Sverdlovsk, Northern, Stalingrad, Chelyabinsk and 
Yaroslavl; of the autonomous soviet socialist re- 
publics: Tatar, Bashkir, Daghestan, Buryat-Mon- 
golian, Kabardino-Balkarian, Kalmyk, Karelian, 
Komi, Crimean, Mari, Mordovian, Volga Ger- 
man, North Ossetian, Udmurtsk, Chechen-Ingush, 
Chuvash and Yakut; and of the autonomous prov- 
inces: Adygei, Jewish, Karachai, Oirat, Khakass 
and Cherkess. 

ARTICLE 23: The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist 
Republic shall consist of the following provinces: 
Vinnitsa, Dnepropetrovsk, Donetz, Kiev, Odessa, 
Kharkov and Chernigov and the Moldavian Au- 
tonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. 

ARTICLE 24 : The Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Re- 
public shall include the Nakhichevan Autono- 
mous Soviet Socialist Republic and the Nagorno- 
Karabakh Autonomous Province. 

AKTICLE 25: The Georgian Soviet Socialist Re- 
public shall include the Abkhazian ASSR, the Ajar 
ASSR and the South Ossetian Autonomous Prov- 
ince. 

ARTICLE 26: The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Repub- 
lic shall include the Kara-Kalpak ASSR. 

ARTICLE 27: The Tadjik Soviet Socialist Repub- 



94 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

lie shall include the Gorno-Badakhshan Autono- 
mous Province. 

ARTICLE 28: The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Re- 
public shall consist of the following provinces: 
Aktyubinsk, Alma-Ata, East Kazakhstan, West 
Kazakhstan, Karaganda, Kustanai, North Kazakh- 
stan, South Kazakhstan. 

ARTICLE 29 : The Armenian SSR, the White Rus- 
sian SSR, the Turkmen SSR, and the Kirghiz SSR 
shall contain no autonomous republics or territories 
or provinces. 

CHAPTER m 

THE HIGHEST ORGANS OF STATE 

POWER OF THE UNION OF 

SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS 

ARTICLE 30: The highest organ of state power 
of the USSR is the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 31: The Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
shall exercise all the rights vested in the Union of 
Soviet Socialist Republics in accordance with Ar- 
ticle 14 of the Constitution, insofar as they do not, 
by virtue of the Constitution, fall within the com- 
petence of organs of the USSR accountable to the 
Supreme Soviet of the USSR, i.e., the Presidium of 
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Council of 
Peoples' Commissars of the USSR and the Peoples* 
Commissariats of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 32: The legislative power of the USSR 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 95 

shall be exercised exclusively by the Supreme So- 
viet of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 33: The Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
shall consist of two chambers: the Soviet of the 
Union and the Soviet of Nationalities. 

ARTICLE 34: The Soviet of the Union shall be 
elected by the citizens of the USSR by electoral 
districts on the basis of one deputy for every 300,- 
000 of the population. 

ABTICLE 35: The Soviet of Nationalities shall be 
elected by the citizens of the USSR by constituent 
and autonomous republics, autonomous provinces 
and national regions on the basis of twenty-five 
deputies from each constituent republic, eleven 
deputies from each autonomous republic, five dep- 
uties from each autonomous province and one 
deputy from each national region. 

ARTICLE 36: The Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
shall be elected for a term of four years. 

ARTICLE 37: The two chambers of the Supreme 
Soviet of the USSR, the Soviet of the Union and the 
Soviet of Nationalities, shall have equal rights. 

ARTICLE 38: The legislative initiative shall be- 
long in equal degree to the Soviet of the Union and 
the Soviet of Nationalities. 

ARTICLE 39: A law shall be considered adopted 
if passed by both chambers of the Supreme Soviet 
of the USSR by a simple majority in each. 

ARTICLE 40: Laws passed by the Supreme So- 
viet of the USSR shall be published in the langu- 



96 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

ages of the constituent republics over the signa- 
tures of the Chairman and Secretary of the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 41: The sessions of the Soviet of the 
Union and the Soviet of Nationalities shall begin 
and terminate simultaneously. 

ARTICLE 42: The Soviet of the Union shall elect 
a Chairman of the Soviet of the Union and two 
Vice-Chairmen. 

ARTICLE 43: The Soviet of Nationalities shall 
elect a Chairman of the Soviet of Nationalities and 
two Vice-Chairmen. 

ARTICLE 44: The Chairmen of the Soviet of the 
Union and of the Soviet of Nationalities shall pre- 
side over the meetings of the respective chambers 
and regulate their internal procedure. 

ARTICLE 45: Joint sessions of both chambers of 
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR shall be presided 
over alternately by the Chairman of the Soviet of 
the Union and the Chairman of the Soviet of Na- 
tionalities. 

ARTICLE 46: Sessions of the Supreme Soviet of 
the USSR shall be convened by the Presidium of 
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR twice a year. 

Special sessions shall be convened by the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR at 
its discretion or on the demand of one of the 
constituent republics. 

ARTICLE 47: In case of disagreement between 
the Soviet of the Union and the Soviet of Nation- 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 97 

alities the question shall be referred for settlement 
to a conciliation commission formed on a parity 
basis. If the conciliation commission does not 
come to an agreement, or if its decision does not 
satisfy one of the chambers, the question shall be 
considered a second time in the chambers. Fail- 
ing an agreed decision of the two chambers, the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR shall 
dissolve the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and shall 
fix [up] new elections. 

ABTICLE 48: The Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
shall elect at a joint sitting of both chambers the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, 
consisting of the Chairman of the Presidium of 
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, eleven Vice- 
Chairmen, the Secretary of the Presidium and 
twenty-four members of the Presidium. 

The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the 
USSR shall be accountable to the Supreme Soviet 
of the USSR in all its activities. 

ABTICLE 49: The Presidium of the Supreme So- 
viet of the USSR shall: 

( a ) Convene the sessions of the Supreme Soviet 
of the USSR; 

(b) Interpret existing laws of the USSR and 
issue decrees; 

(c) Dissolve the Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
in conformity with Article 47 of the Constitution 
of the USSR and fix [up] new elections; 

(d) Hold consultations of the entire people 



98 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

(referendums) on its own initiative or on the de- 
mand of one of the constituent republics; 

( e ) Rescind decisions and orders of the Council 
of Peoples' Commissars of the USSR and the Coun- 
cils of Peoples' Commissars of the constituent re- 
publics in case they do not conform to the law; 

(/) In the intervals between sessions of the Su- 
preme Soviet of the USSR, remove from office and 
appoint Peoples' Commissars of the USSR at the 
instance of the Chairman of the Council of Peoples' 
Commissars of the USSR, subject to subsequent 
confirmation by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR; 

( g ) Award decorations of the USSR and bestow 
honorary titles of the USSR; 

(h) Exercise the right of pardon; 

(i) Appoint and replace the high command of 
the armed forces of die USSR; 

(/) In the intervals between sessions of the Su- 
preme Soviet of the USSR, declare a state of war in 
case of an armed attack upon the USSR, or in case 
of the need of fulfilling international treaty obliga- 
tions of mutual defense against aggression; 

( k ) Declare general or partial mobilization; 

(I) Ratify international treaties; 

(m) Appoint and recall plenipotentiary repre- 
sentatives of the USSR to foreign states; 

( n ) Receive the credentials and letters of recall 
of diplomatic representatives of foreign states ac- 
credited to it. 

ARTICLE 50: The Soviet of the Union and the 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 99 

Soviet of Nationalities shall elect credentials com- 
mittees which shall verify the credentials of the 
members of the respective chambers. 

On representation of the credentials committee 
the chamber shall decide either to recognize the 
credentials or to declare invalid the elections of 
individual deputies. 

ARTICLE 51: The Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
shall appoint, whenever it deems necessary., in- 
vestigating and auditing commissions on any mat- 
ter. 

All institutions and officials are bound to comply 
with the demands of these commissions and to 
submit to them the necessary materials and docu- 
ments. 

ARTICLE 52: A deputy of the Supreme Soviet of 
the USSR may not be prosecuted or arrested with- 
out the consent of die Supreme Soviet of the USSR, 
and during the period when the Supreme Soviet of 
the USSR is not in session, without the consent of 
the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 53: On the expiration of the term of 
office of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, or on its 
dissolution before the expiration of its term, the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
shall retain its powers until the formation of a 
new Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the 
USSR by the newly elected Supreme Soviet of 
the USSR. 

ARTICLE 54: On the expiration of the term of 



100 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

office of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, or on its 
dissolution before the expiration of its term, the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
shall fix new elections to be held within a period 
of not more than two months from the date of ex- 
piration of the term of office or the dissolution of 
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 55: The newly elected Supreme So- 
viet of the USSR shall be convened by the Presid- 
ium of the former Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
not later than one month after the elections. 

ARTICLE 56: The Supreme Soviet of the USSR 
at a joint session of both chambers shall set up the 
executive of the USSR the Council of Peoples' 
Commissars of the USSR. 

CHAPTER IV 

THE HIGHEST ORGANS OF STATE 

POWER OF THE CONSTITUENT 

REPUBLICS 

ARTICLE 57: The highest organ of state power 
of a constituent republic shall be the Supreme So- 
viet of the constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 58: The Supreme Soviet of a constitu- 
ent republic shall be elected by the citizens of the 
republic for a term of four years. 

The rates of representation shall be fixed by the 
constitutions of the constituent republics. 

ARTICLE 59: The Supreme Soviet of a constitu- 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 101 

ent republic shall be the only legislative organ of 
the republic. 

ARTICLE 60: The Supreme Soviet of a constitu- 
ent republic shall: 

(a) Adopt the constitution of the republic and 
amend it in accordance with Article 16 of the Con- 
stitution of the USSR; 

(b) Approve the constitutions of the autono- 
mous republics included in it and define the bound- 
aries of their territories; 

(#) Approve the economic plan and budget of 
the republic; 

(d) Exercise the right of amnesty and pardon 
of citizens sentenced by the judicial organs of the 
constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 61: The Supreme Soviet of a constitu- 
ent republic shall elect the Presidium of the Su- 
preme Soviet of the constituent republic consisting 
of: the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme 
Soviet of the constituent republic, Vice-Chairmen, 
a Secretary of the Presidium and members of the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the constitu- 
ent republic. 

The powers of the Presidium of the Supreme 
Soviet of a constituent republic shall be defined by 
the constitution of the constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 62: To conduct its sessions, the Su- 
preme Soviet of a constituent republic shall elect 
its Chairman and Vice-Chairmen. 

ARTICLE 63: The Supreme Soviet of a constitu- 



102 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

ent republic stall set up the executive of the con- 
stituent republic the Council of Peoples' Com- 
missars of die constituent republic. 

CHAPTER V 

ORGANS OF STATE ADMINISTRATION 

OF THE UNION OF SOVIET 

SOCIALIST REPUBLICS 

ARTICLE 64: The highest executive and admin- 
istrative organ of state power of the Union of So- 
viet Socialist Republics shall be the Council of 
Peoples' Commissars of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 65: The Council of Peoples' Commis- 
sars of the USSR shall be responsible to the Su- 
preme Soviet of the USSR and accountable to it; 
and between sessions of the Supreme Soviet, to the 
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 66: The Council of Peoples' Commis- 
sars of the USSR shall issue resolutions and orders 
on the basis" of, and in execution of, the existing 
laws and shall verify their execution. 

ARTICLE 67: Resolutions and orders of the 
Council of Peoples' Commissars of the USSR shall 
be binding throughout the entire territory of the 
USSR. 

ARTICLE 68: The Council of Peoples' Commis- 
sars of the USSR shall: 

(a) Coordinate and direct the work of the All- 
Union and Union-Republic Peoples' Commissari- 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 103 

ats of the USSR and of the other economic and cul- 
tural institutions subordinate to it; 

(b) Take measures to carry out the national 
economic plan and state budget and to strengthen 
the credit-monetary system; 

(c) Take measures to secure public order, to 
defend the interests of the state, and to safeguard 
the rights of citizens; 

(d) Exercise general supervision in the sphere 
of relations with foreign states; 

(e) Fix the annual contingent of citizens to be 
called for active military service and direct the gen- 
eral organization of the armed forces of the coun- 
try; 

(/) Set up, when necessary, special committees 
and central administrations attached to the Coun- 
cil of Peoples' Commissars of the USSR for eco- 
nomic, cultural and defense construction. 

ABTICLE 69: The Council of Peoples* Commis- 
sars of the USSR shall have the right, in respect to 
those branches of administration and economy 
which come within the competence of the USSR, 
to suspend resolutions and orders of the Councils 
of Peoples' Commissars of the constituent republics 
and to annul orders and instructions of Peoples' 
Commissars of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 70: The Council of Peoples' Commis- 
sars of the USSR shall be formed by the Supreme 
Soviet of the USSR and shall consist of: 

The Chairman of the Council of Peoples* 



104 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

Commissars of the USSR; 

The Vice-Chairmen of the Council of Peoples' 
Commissars of the USSR; 

The Chairman of the State Planning Commis- 
sion of the USSR; 

The Chairman of the Soviet Control Commis- 
sion; 

The Peoples' Commissars of the USSR; 

The Chairman of the Committee on Agricultural 
Products; 

The Chairman of the Committee on [the] Arts; 

The Chairman of the Committee on Higher Edu- 
cation. 

ARTICLE 71: The Executive of the USSR or a 
Peoples* Commissar of the USSR to whom any 
question by a member of the Supreme Soviet of the 
USSR is addressed shall be obliged to give a verbal 
or written reply in the respective chamber within a 
period of not more than three days. 

ARTICLE 72: The Peoples' Commissars of the 
USSR shall direct the branches of state adminis- 
tration which come within the competence of the 
USSR. 

ARTICLE 73: The Peoples' Commissars of the 
USSR shall issue, within the limits of the compe- 
tence of the respective Peoples' Commissariats, 
orders and instructions on the basis of, and in exe- 
cution of, existing laws as well as of resolutions and 
orders of the Council of Peoples' Commissars of 
the USSR, and shall verify their execution. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 105 

ARTICLE 74: The Peoples' Commissariats of the 
USSR shall be either Ail-Union or Union-Republic. 

ARTICLE 75: The Ail-Union Peoples' Commis- 
sariats shall direct the branches o state administra- 
tion entrusted to them throughout the territory of 
the USSR either directly or through organs ap- 
pointed by them. 

ARTICLE 76: The Union-Republic Peoples' 
Commissariats shall direct the branches of state 
administration entrusted to them, as a rule, through 
like-named Peoples* Commissariats of the constitu- 
ent republics, and shall directly administer only a 
definite limited number of enterprises according to 
a list confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme 
Soviet of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 77: The following Peoples 7 Commis- 
sariats shall be Ail-Union Peoples' Commissariats: 
Defense; Communications; 

Foreign Affairs; Water Transport; 

Foreign Trade; Heavy Industry; 

Railways; Defense Industry. 

ARTICLE 78: The following Peoples' Commis- 
sariats shall be Union-Republic Peoples' Commis- 
sariats: 

Food Industry; Finance; 

Light Industry; Internal Trade; 

Timber Industry; Internal Affairs; 

Agriculture; Justice; 

State Grain and Livestock 

Farms; Health. 



106 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 



CHAPTEB VI 

ORGANS OF STATE ADMINISTRATION 
OF THE CONSTITUENT REPUBLICS 

ARTICLE 79: The highest executive and admin- 
istrative organ of state power of a constituent re- 
public shall be the Council of Peoples' Commissars 
of the constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 80: The Council of Peoples' Commis- 
sars of a constituent republic shall be responsible 
to the Supreme Soviet of the constituent republic 
and accountable to it, and in the intervals between 
sessions of the Supreme Soviet of a constituent re- 
public, to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of 
the constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 81: The Council of Peoples* Commis- 
sars of a constituent republic shall issue resolutions 
and orders on the basis of , and in execution of, the 
existing laws of the USSR and of the constituent 
republic, and of the resolutions and orders of the 
Council of Peoples' Commissars of the USSR, and 
shall verify their execution. 

ARTICLE 82: The Council of Peoples* Commis- 
sars of a constituent republic shall have the right to 
suspend the resolutions and orders of the Council 
of Peoples* Commissars of the autonomous repub- 
lics and to rescind the decisions and orders of the 
executive committees of the Soviets of working 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 107 

people's deputies of territories, provinces and 
autonomous provinces. 

ARTICLE 83: The Council of Peoples' Commis- 
sars of a constituent republic shall be formed by 
the Supreme Soviet of the constituent republic and 
shall consist of: 

The Chairmen of the Council of Peoples' Com- 
missars of the constituent republic; 

The Vice-Chairmen; 

The Chairman of the State Planning Commis- 
sion; 

The Peoples' Commissars for: 
Food Industry; Internal Affairs; 

Light Industry; Justice; 

Timber Industry; Health; 

Agriculture; Education; 

Internal Trade; 
State Grain and Live- Local Industry; 

stock Farms; Municipal Economy; 

Finance; Social Welfare; 

A representative of the Committee on Agricul- 
tural Products; 

Chief of the Administration for [the] Arts; 

Representatives of the All- [Union] Peoples' 
Commissariats. 

ARTICLE 84: The Peoples' Commissars of a con- 
stituent republic shall direct those branches of 
state administration which come within the com- 
petence of the constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 85: The Peoples' Commissars of a con- 



108 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

stituent republic shall issue, within the limits of the 
competence of the respective Peoples' Commis- 
sariats, orders and instructions on the basis of, and 
in execution of, the laws of the USSR and the con- 
stituent republic, of resolutions and orders of the 
Council of Peoples' Commissars of the USSR and 
of the constituent republic, and of orders and in- 
structions of the Union-Republic Peoples' Com- 
missariats of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 86: The Peoples' Commissariats of a 
constituent republic shall be either Union-Repub- 
lic or Republic. 

ARTICLE 87: Union-Republic Peoples' Commis- 
sariats shall direct the branches of state administra- 
tion entrusted to them and shall be subordinate 
both to the Council of Peoples' Commissars of the 
constituent republic and to the corresponding 
Union-Republic Peoples' Commissariat of the 
USSR. 

ARTICLE 88: Republic Peoples' Commissariats 
shall direct the branch of state administration en- 
trusted to them and shall be subordinate directly 
to the Council of Peoples' Commissars of the con- 
stituent republic. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 109 
CHAPTER VH 

THE HIGHEST ORGANS OF STATE 

POWER OF THE AUTONOMOUS 

SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS 

ARTICLE 89 : The highest organ of state power of 
an autonomous republic is the Supreme Soviet of 
theASSR. 

ARTICLE 90: The Supreme Soviet of an autono- 
mous republic shall be elected by the citizens of 
the republic for a term of four years, according to 
rates of representation fixed by the constitution of 
the autonomous republic. 

ARTICLE 91: The Supreme Soviet of an autono- 
mous republic shall be the only legislative organ of 
the ASSK 

ARTICLE 92: Each autonomous republic shall 
have its own constitution, which shall take into ac- 
count the peculiarities of the autonomous republic 
and which shall be drawn up in full conformity 
with the constitution of the constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 93: The Supreme Soviet of an autono- 
mous republic shall elect the Presidium of the Su- 
preme Soviet of the autonomous republic and shall 
form the Council of Peoples' Commissars of the 
autonomous republic in accordance with its con- 
stitution. 



110 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 



CHAPTER 

LOCAL ORGANS OF STATE POWER 

ABTTCLE 94: Soviets of working people's depu- 
ties shall be the organs of state power in territo- 
ries, provinces, autonomous provinces, regions, dis- 
tricts, cities and rural localities ( stanitsa, village, 
khutor, kishlak, aul).* 

ARTICLE 95: The Soviets of working people's 
deputies of territories, provinces, autonomous 
provinces, regions, districts, cities and rural local- 
ities (stanitsa, village, khutor, kishlak, aul) shall 
be elected by the working people in the respective 
territories, provinces, autonomous provinces, re- 
gions, districts, cities and rural localities for a 
term of two years. 

ARTICLE 96: The rates of representation for the 
Soviets of working people's deputies shall be fixed 
by the constitution of the constituent republic. 

ARTICLE 97: The Soviets of working people's 
deputies shall direct the activity of the organs of 
administration subordinate to them, ensure the 
maintenance of public order, the observance of the 
laws and the protection of the rights of citizens, 
direct the local economic and cultural construction 
and draw up the local budget. 

* "Krai," territory; "okrug," region; "blast,** province; "rayon,** 
district; "stanitsa," Cossack village; "khutor," hamlets of a few 
farms [in Ukrainia]; "kishlak," village in Central Asia; "aul," moun- 
tain or desert village, especially in the Caucasus. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 111 

ABTTCLE 98: The Soviets of working people's 
deputies shall make decisions and issue orders 
within the limits of the powers conferred on them 
by the laws of the USSR and the constituent re- 
public. 

ARTICLE 99: The executive and administrative 
organs of the Soviets of working people's deputies 
of territories, provinces, autonomous provinces, 
regions, districts, cities and rural localities shall be 
the executive committees elected by them, consist- 
ing of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and 
members. 

ARTICLE 100: The executive and administrative 
organs of rural Soviets of working people's deputies 
in small settlements, in accordance with the con- 
stitutions of the constituent republics, shall be the 
Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary elected 
by them. 

ARTICLE 101: The executive organs of the So- 
viets of working people's deputies shall be directly 
accountable both to the soviet of working people's 
deputies which elected them and to the executive 
organ of the higher soviet of working people's 
deputies, 

CHAPTER IX 

THE COURT AND THE ATTORNEY- 
GENERAL'S OFFICE 

ARTICLE 102: Justice in the USSR shall be ad- 
ministered by the Supreme Court of the USSR, the 



112 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

Supreme Courts of the constituent republics, terri- 
torial and provincial courts, courts of autonomous 
republics and autonomous provinces, regional 
courts, special courts of the USSR created by reso- 
lution of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and peo- 
ples' courts. 

ARTICLE 103: Cases in all courts shall be tried 
with the participation of peoples' associate judges, 
except in cases specially provided for by law. 

ARTICLE 104: The Supreme Court of the USSR 
shall be the highest judicial organ. It shall be 
charged with supervision of the judicial activities 
of all the judicial organs of the USSR and of the 
constituent republics. 

ARTICLE 105: The Supreme Court of the USSR 
and the special courts of the USSR shall be elected 
by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for a term of 
five years. 

ARTICLE 106: The Supreme Courts of the con- 
stituent republics shall be elected by the Supreme 
Soviets of the constituent republics for a term of 
five years. 

ARTICLE 107 : The Supreme Courts of the auton- 
nomous republics shall be elected by the Supreme 
Soviets of the autonomous republics for a term of 
five years. 

ARTICLE 108: Territorial and provincial courts, 
courts of autonomous provinces and regional courts 
shall be elected by the Soviets of working people's 
deputies of the territories, provinces, regions and 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 113 

autonomous provinces for a term of five years. 

ARTICLE 109: The peoples' courts shall be 
elected for a term of three years by the citizens of 
the district, by secret vote, on the basis of universal^ 
direct and equal suffrage. 

ARTICLE 110: Court proceedings shall be con- 
ducted in the language of the constituent or auton- 
omous republic or autonomous province, with the 
guarantee to persons not knowing the language of 
full acquaintance with the material of the case 
through an interpreter, and also of the right to 
speak in court in their native language. 

ARTICLE 111: In all courts of the USSR cases 
shall be heard in public unless otherwise provided 
by law, and the accused shall be guaranteed the 
right to defense. 

ARTICLE 112: The judges are independent and 
shall be subordinate only to the law. 

ARTICLE 113: The highest supervision over the 
strict observance of laws by all the Peoples' Com- 
missariats and institutions subordinate to them, 
as well as by individual officials and also by citizens 
of the USSR, is vested in the Attorney-General of 
the USSR. 

ARTICLE 114: The Attorney-General of the 
USSR shall be appointed by the Supreme Soviet of 
the USSR for a term of seven years. 

ARTICLE 115: State attorneys of republics, terri- 
tories and provinces, as well as state attorneys of 
autonomous republics and autonomous provinces,, 



114 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

shall be appointed by the Attorney-General of the 
USSR for a term of five years. 

ARTICLE 116: District attorneys of regions, dis- 
tricts and cities shall be appointed for a term of 
five years by the state attorneys of the constituent 
republics and confirmed by the Attorney-General 

of the USSR; 

ARTICLE 117: The state and district attorneys* 
offices shall perform their functions independently 
of any local organs whatsoever and be subordinate 
solely to the Attorney-General of the USSR. 

CHAPTER X 

BASIC RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF 
CITIZENS 

ARTICLE 118: Citizens of the USSR have the 
right to work, that is, the right to guaranteed em- 
ployment and payment for their work in accord- 
ance with its quantity and quality. 

The right to work is ensured by the socialist or- 
ganization of the national economy, the steady 
growth of the productive forces of soviet society, 
the elimination of the possibility of economic 
crises, and the abolition of unemployment. 

ARTICLE 119: Citizens of the USSR have the 
right to rest. 

The right to rest is ensured by the reduction of 
the working day to seven hours for the overwhelm- 
ing majority of the workers, the institution of an- 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 115 

nual vacations with pay for workers and other em- 
ployees, and the provision of a wide network of 
sanatoria, rest homes and clubs serving the needs 
of the working people. 

ARTICLE 120: Citizens of the USSR have the 
right to material security in old age, and also in 
case of sickness or loss of capacity to work. 

This right is ensured by the wide development 
of social insurance of workers and other employees 
at state expense, free medical service for the work- 
ing people, and the provision of a wide network of 
health resorts at the disposal of the working people. 

ARTICLE 121: Citizens of the USSR have the 
right to education. 

This right is ensured by universal compulsory 
elementary education, by education free of charge 
including higher education, by a system of state 
stipends for die overwhelming majority of students 
in higher schools, by instruction in schools in the 
native language, and by the organization in fac- 
tories, state farms, machine-tractor stations and 
collective farms of free industrial, technical and 
agricultural education for the working people. 

ARTICLE 122 : Women in the USSR are accorded 
equal rights with men in all spheres of economic, 
state, cultural, social and political life. 

The realization of these rights of women is en- 
sured by affording women equally with men the 
right to work, payment for work, rest, social in- 
surance and education, and by state protection of 



116 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

the interests of mother and child, pregnancy leave 
with pay, and the provision of a wide network of 
jrnaternity homes, nurseries and kindergartens. 

ARTICLE 123: Equal rights for citizens of the 
USSR, irrespective of their nationality or race, in 
all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and 
political life, shall be an irrevocable law. 

Any direct or indirect limitation of these rights, 
or, conversely, any establishment of direct or in- 
direct privileges for citizens on account of their 
race or nationality, as well as any propagation of 
racial or national exclusiveness or hatred and con- 
tempt, shall be punished by law. 

ABTTCLE 124: In order to ensure to citizens free- 
dom of conscience, the church in the USSR shall 
be separated from the state, and the school from 
the church. Freedom of religious worship and 
freedom of anti-religious propaganda shall be 
recognized for all citizens. 

AKTICLE 125: In accordance with the interests 
of the working people, and in order to strengthen 
the socialist system, the citizens of the USSR are 
guaranteed by law: 

(a) Freedom of speech; 

(b) Freedom of the press; 

(c) Freedom of assembly and meetings; 

(d) Freedom of street processions and demon- 
strations. 

These rights of citizens are ensured by placing 
at the disposal of the working people and their 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 117 

organizations printing shops, supplies of paper, 
public buildings, the streets, means of communi- 
cation and other material requisites for the exercise 
of these rights. 

ARTICLE 126: In accordance with the interests 
of the working people, and for the purpose of de- 
veloping the organized self-expression and political 
activity of the masses of the people, citizens of the 
USSR are ensured the right to unite in public or- 
ganizations trade unions, cooperative associa- 
tions, youth organizations, sport and defense 
organizations, cultural, technical, and scientific 
societies; and the most active and politically con- 
scious citizens from the ranks of the working class 
and other strata of the working people unite in 
the All-Union Communist Party (of Bolsheviks), 
which is the vanguard of the working people in 
their struggle to strengthen and develop die social- 
ist system, and which represents the leading nu- 
cleus of all organizations of the working people, 
both social and state. 

ARTICLE 127: Citizens of the USSR are guaran- 
teed inviolability of the person. No one may be 
subject to arrest except by an order of the court or 
with the sanction of a state attorney. 

ARTICLE 128: The inviolability of the homes of 
citizens and secrecy of correspondence are pro- 
tected by law. 

ARTICLE 129: The USSR grants the right of 
asylum to foreign citizens persecuted for defending 



118 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

the interests of the working people or for scientific 
activity or for their struggle for national liberation. 

AUTTCLE 130: It is the duty of every citizen of 
the USSR to observe the constitution of the Union 
of Soviet Socialist Republics, to carry out the laws, 
to maintain labor discipline, honestly to perform 
his public duties and to respect the rules of the 
socialist community. 

ARTICLE 131: It is the duty of every citizen of 
the USSR to safeguard and strengthen public 
socialist property as the sacred and inviolable 
foundation of the Soviet system, as the source of 
the wealth and might of the fatherland, as the 
source of the prosperous and cultural life of all the 
working people. 

Persons making attacks upon public socialist 
property shall be regarded as enemies of the 
people. 

ARTICLE 132: Universal military duty shall be 
the law. 

Military service in the Workers' and Peasants' 
Red Army represents an honorable duty of the 
citizens of the USSR. 

ARTICLE 133: The defense of the fatherland is 
the sacred duty of every citizen of the USSR. 
Treason to the homeland: violation of the oath, 
desertion to the enemy, impairing the military 
might of the state, espionage: shall be punished 
with the full severity of the law as the gravest 
crime. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 119 

CHAPTER XI 

THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM 

ARTICLE 134: Elections of deputies to all the 
Soviets of working people's deputies; to the Su- 
preme Soviet of the USSR; to the Supreme Soviets 
of the constituent republics; to the territorial and 
provincial Soviets of working people's deputies; to 
the Supreme Soviets of the autonomous republics; 
to the Soviets of working people's deputies of au- 
tonomous provinces; to the Soviets of working 
people's deputies of the regions, towns and ru- 
ral districts (stanitsas, villages, khutors, kishlaks, 
auls), shall be effected by the voters on the basis 
of universal, equal and direct suffrage, by secret 
ballot. 

ARTICLE 135: The elections of deputies shall be 
universal: all citizens of the USSR who have 
reached the age of 18, irrespective of race and 
nationality, religion, educational qualifications, 
residence, social origin, property status or past ac- 
tivity, shall have the right to take part in the elec- 
tions of deputies and to be elected, with the excep- 
tion of insane persons and persons condemned by 
court with deprivation of electoral rights. 

ARTICLE 136: The elections of deputies shall be 
equal: every citizen shall have one vote; all citi- 
zens shall take part in the elections on an equal 
basis. 



120 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

ARTICLE 137: Women shall have the right to 
elect and to be elected on equal terms with men, 

ARTICLE 138: Citizens who are in the ranks of 
the Red Army shall have the right to elect and to 
be elected on equal terms with all citizens. 

ARTICLE 139: The elections of deputies shall be 
direct: the elections to all the Soviets of working 
people's deputies, beginning with the rural and 
city Soviets of working people's deputies and up 
to and including the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, 
shall be directly effected by citizens through direct 
elections. 

ARTICLE 140: The voting at elections of depu- 
ties shall be secret 

ARTICLE 141: Candidates for elections shall be 
nominated by electoral districts. 

The right to nominate candidates shall be en- 
sured to public organizations and societies of work- 
ing people; Communist Party organizations; trade 
unions; cooperatives; organizations of youth; cul- 
tural societies. 

ARTICLE 142: Every deputy shall be obliged to 
report to the electors on his work and on the work 
of the soviet of working people's deputies, and may 
at any time be recalled by decision of a majority 
of the electors in the manner prescribed by law. 



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF 1936 121 

CHAPTER XEt 

EMBLEM, FLAG, CAPITAL 

ARTICLE 143 : The state emblem of the Union of 
Soviet Socialist Republics shall consist of a sickle 
and hammer on the globe of the earth depicted in 
rays of the sun and surrounded by ears of grain, 
with the inscription: "Workers of all lands unite," 
in the languages of the constituent republics, 
Above the emblem shall be a five-pointed star. 

ARTICLE 144: The state flag of the Union of 
Soviet Socialist Republics shall be of red cloth 
with a sickle and hammer depicted in gold in the 
upper corner near the staff and above them a red 
five-pointed star bordered in gold. The ratio of 
the width to the length shall be one to two. 

ARTICLE 145: The capital of the Union of Soviet 
Socialist Republics shall be the city of Moscow. 

CHAPTER Xm 

PROCEDURE FOR AMENDING THE 
. CONSTITUTION 

ARTICLE 146: Amendments to the Constitution 
of the USSR shall be effected only by decisions of 
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, adopted by a 
majority of not less than two-thirds of the votes in 
each of its chambers. 



122 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

PRESIDIUM OF THE EIGHTH EXTRAORDINARY CON- 
GRESS OF SOVIETS OF THE UNION OF SOVIET SO- 
CIALIST REPUBLICS 



N. Aitakov 

V. Akhun-Babayev 

L Akulov 

A. Andreyev 

V. Bluecher 

S. Budyonny 

A. Chervyakov 

V. Clmbar 

R. Eiche 

L. Kaganovich 

M. Kalinin 

N. Krushchev 

A. Kiselev 

S. Kosior 

M. Litvinov 

THE KREMLIN, Moscow 
December 5, 1936 



P. Lyubchenko 
A. Mikoyan 
V. Molotov 
G. Musabekov 
G. Ordjonikidze 
G. Petrovsky 
P. Postyshev 
A. Rakhimbayev 
Y. Rudzutak 
N. Shvernik 
J. Stalin 
D. Sulimov 
K. Voroshilov 
N. Yeznov 
A. Zhdanov 



Postscript 

THE RIGHTS AND BASIC DUTIES OF MAN AS LAID 
DOWN BY THE CONSTITTJTION OF THE USSR, 1936 

WE now add our own summary of the Constitution, not 
in the Russian phraseology, but in terms enabling the 
British or American reader more easily to comprehend its 
purport; and not following the order of the legal text but 
rearranged so as to bring out its character as a new Decla- 
ration of the Rights of Man. 

The Twelve Tables of the Law 

I. The Right to work, and to be enabled to live 
by the work that must be found for all able-bodied 
adults, with their own option, alternatively, to join 
in independent cooperative productive societies, 
either in industry, agriculture or fishing, or to work 
individually on their own' account, without the em- 
ployment of hired labor. 

II. The Right to leisure, by statutory limitation 
of the hours of employment in office, factory, miU 
or mine; together with the provision of paid holi- 
days and of all approved means of happily using 
the leisure so ensured. 

III. The Right of those who work at wages or 
salary by hand or by brain, and of their incapaci- 
tated dependants, collectively, to the entire net 
product of the labor so employed throughout the 
whole USSR, as annually ascertained. 

123 



124 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

IV. The Right to positive health of body and 
mind, so far as this can be secured by the widest 
possible use of preventive and curative medicine 
and surgery, and of public sanitation, with wages 
in sickness and incapacity without waiting interval 
or time limit; and the ensuring of adequate nutri- 
tion and physical as well as mental training of all 
infants, children and adolescents. 

V. The Right of Women to fulfil the function of 
motherhood with all possible alleviation of the 
physical suffering involved; without pecuniary 
sacrifice or burden, and further aided by univer- 
sally organized provision for the care of infants and 
children, 

VI. The Right to education equally for all races, 
without limit or fee, for persons of any age and 
either sex, with maintenance in suitable cases. 

VIL The Right to prompt and adequate pro- 
vision for the family on the death of any bread- 
winner or pensioner; with universally gratuitous 
funeral, and instant succor of the home. 

VIII. The Right to superannuation at a definite 
age before senility or upon previous breakdown, 
with adequate non-contributory pension. 

IX. The Right to freedom of speech, freedom of 
assembly and of holding mass meetings, freedom 
of street processions and demonstrations and free- 
dom of tie press [from domination by capitalist, 
financial or counter-revolutionary ownership or 
control]. These "rights of the citizens" by Article 



POSTSCRIPT 125 

125 "are ensured by placing at the disposal of the 
toilers and their organizations'' [including trade 
unions, cooperative societies, sport and other 
voluntary societies] printing presses, supplies of 
paper, public buildings, and other material requi- 
sites for the exercise of these rights; as well as by 
the prohibition of private profit-making and exploi- 
tation. 

X. The Right to criticize every branch of the 
public administration, and to agitate for its im- 
provement, by groups and associations of divers 
kinds, such as trade unions, cooperative societies 
and cultural associations, by speeches at public 
meetings and by printed matter yet without any 
organization of merely political groups having no 
other common interest than public criticism or op- 
position, and without permission to individuals or 
factions to obstruct the execution of what has been 
finally decided on by the supreme elected legisla- 
ture. 

XL The Right to elect, irrespective of nation- 
ality, race, sex or color; freely, directly, secretly, 
equally and universally; from 18 years of age; to 
afl governing assemblies from the lowest to the 
highest, without pecuniary, residential or other 
limiting qualifications; candidates being put for- 
ward by non-party groups of every description, as 
well as by the Vocation of Leadership known as the 
Communist Party. This will produce an electo- 
rate numbering actually 55 per cent of the census 



126 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 
population, as compared with one of less than 40 
per cent in the United States and Great Britain, 
reduced as those are by requirements of residence 
and specific registration. 

XII. The Right to inviolability of the person, 
and of his correspondence. The right to be free 
from arbitrary arrest, as in other continental ad- 
ministrations, will not liave what is so much cher- 
ished in England, the special protection of that 
unique British peculiarity, the Habeas Corpus Act. 
But (Article 127) "the citizens of the USSR are 
guaranteed inviolability of person. No person 
may be placed under arrest except by decision of 
a court or with the sanction of the judicial depart- 
ment of the State Attorney/' which is now made 
independent of the executive. 

THE BASIC DUTIES OF MAN 

Unlike all other Declarations of the Rights of 
Man, notably the historic American Declaration 
of the Rights of Man in 1776, and the French Revo- 
lutionary Declaration of 1793, the Soviet Consti- 
tution of 1936 supplements the Rights of Man by 
the Basic Duties of Man to the community in which 
he lives and has his being. 

First and most outstanding is Article 12 : "Work 
in the USSR is a duty, a matter of honor, for every 
able-bodied citizen. He who does not work shall 
not eat" This duty not to be a parasite, living on 



POSTSCRIPT 127 

the work of other men, is strikingly absent in Capi- 
talist and Landlord Countries, whether democ- 
racies or oligarchies, conservative or liberal. In 
normal times, the so-called "leisured classes" are 
envied and honored by their fellow men, they are 
never penalized. 

But this is not all. In Articles 131, 132, 133 and 
134, all citizens, male and female, young and old, 
are instructed to "strengthen public-socialist prop- 
erty, to regard it as the source of the wealth and 
power of the fatherland, of the health and happi- 
ness, the prosperity and culture of a working peo- 
ple. It is unnecessary to add that military service 
is the duty of all citizens." 

"Treason to the Homeland, violation of the oath, 
desertion to the enemy, espionage, are to be pun- 
ished with the full severity of the law." Thus 
there were no Quislings in the USSR, no Fifth 
Column, as there were in Denmark, Norway and 
Holland, and, above all, in the much honored Re- 
public of France. These undesirable citizens had 
been dealt with in the much abused Moscow Trials 
of the thirties. 

Perhaps it is this unique emphasis on the Duties 
of Man as a necessary complement to the Rights of 
Man which is the peculiar characteristic of the 
Soviet Constitution of 1936. It explains why the 
defeated, starving, illiterate inhabitants of Tsarist 
Russia became in the course of twenty years the 
relatively comfortable and cultured, healthy and 



128 THE TRUTH ABOUT SOVIET RUSSIA 

skilled, courageous and adventurous Soviet people 
of 1941-42; who alone among the inhabitants of 
the European Continent have been* able to resist 
and beat back the mighty military machine of Hit- 
ler Germany, intent on the conquest and enslave- 
ment of the world. 

SIDNEY and BEATRICE WEBB, 1937-42 



THE END 



THE TRUTH 

ABOUT 
SOVIET RUSSIA 

% SIDNEY and BEATRICE WEBB 

IT would be difficult to think of a happier or 
more timely combination of author and sub- 
ject than the Webbs on Soviet Russia. Eight 
years ago, after close to a half -century of 
writing on society and social reform, they first 
published their searching analysis Soviet Com- 
munism, A New Civilization? a study 
generally regarded as the first serious attempt 
of major proportions to break through the 
emotional thinking about Russia to the fun- 
damental aims and accomplishment of this so 
large-scale social experiment. 

This volume is a distillation of the earlier 
work. It contains an evaluation of the Soviet 
Constitution of 1936 and a description of 
Soviet Communism in operation in terms of 
social, political, economic and religious pur- 
poses and practices. There follows the com- 
plete text of the Constitution translated by 
Anna Louise Strong, and finally a short sum- 
mary of the Constitution "in terms enabling 
the British or American reader more easily to 
comprehend its purport." There is also a crisp 
sketch of the Webbs by their life-long friend 
George Bernard Shaw. 

The fact that we are today fighting side 
by side with Soviet Russia against the Axis 
Powers brings to a head a question which we 
can no longer put off answering: What are the 
social aims of the U.S.S.R. and do these aims 
and the political means for achieving them 
contain a basis for cooperation between the 
U.S.S.R. and the United States? This straight- 
forward and lucid discussion will help us come 
to grips with this question. 



126177